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Wainwright Spells Trouble for Dodgers

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Competing with the Cardinals broadcast today is the Scripps National Spelling Bee on ESPN2. As a former spelling bee contestant, let’s see if I can inject some spelling bee words into today’s game.

DYNAMISM d-y-n-a-m-i-s-m

The Cardinals struck first with a two-run home run by Adam Wainwright in the 2nd inning. The 9th spot in the lineup has been strikingly productive, with an OPS of .690 going into today’s game, leading the NL (rounding out the top 3 are the Cubs at .662 and the Mets at .570).

UNANTICIPATED: u-n-a-n-t-i-c-i-p-a-t-e-d

Early on, Wainwright consistently tricked the Dodgers with unusually slow curveballs. In the third inning in particular, Wainwright got pitcher Brandon McCarthy out on a called strike at 72 mph, got Chris Taylor to swing through a 67 mph pitch, and threw a 66 mph pitch that fooled Corey Seager.

NETTLESOME n-e-t-t-l-e-s-o-m-e

In the bottom of the 3rd, the Cardinals quickly put runners on second and third with no outs on singles by Stephen Piscotty and Jedd Gyorko (with Gyorko advancing to second on an errant throw). Depending on what expected run matrix you look at, the probability of scoring in the inning in that situation ranges between 85-87%. However, it was not to be. A combination of a groundout, a rundown of Piscotty between 3rd and home, and a strikeout would quash the Cards chances to tack on more runs.

HABITUATED h-a-b-i-t-u-a-t-e-d

As has become customary in nearly all Cardinals games, at least one runner must be sacrificed at the altar of poor baserunning. In this case, it would be Piscotty (let’s generously call the play mentioned above simply “bold” baserunning), who would be thrown out stealing after Yadier Molina’s strikeout to end the 5th inning. Despite all evidence that this strategy is doing more harm than good, the Cardinals seem determined to hew to Matheny’s spring training insistence on aggressiveness on the basepaths: “Our coaching staff has done a real nice job of emphasizing, then rewarding, guys when they are keeping the throttle on and trying to take that extra base.”

EFFICACIOUS e-f-f-i-c-a-c-i-o-u-s

Wainwright would finish the day with 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 K, 2 BB, 4 H, lowering his ERA to 3.79 from a high of 7.24 less than 6 weeks ago.

ADSCITITIOUS a-d-s-c-i-t-i-t-i-o-u-s

The Cardinals continue to carry a short bench, a problem wholly of the Cardinals making. 13 pitchers while carrying next to no bench relief seems unnecessary, but is clearly something the Cardinals are choosing not to remedy at this point.

LANGUOROUS l-a-n-g-u-o-r-o-u-s

Both Molina and Tommy Pham went 0-4, looking worn down. Both were swinging freely at pitches outside the zone for most of the game, and both seem to need a day off.

EUDAEMONIC e-u-d-a-e-m-o-n-i-c

Though it took some very borderline strike calls (leading to the ejection of Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and catcher Yasmani Grandal in separate incidents), Seung-Hwan Oh would come in to close out the game. Cards win 2-0 to split the series.

Cardinals head to Wrigley Field to take on the slumping Cubs tomorrow.