At this point, 22 days into June, the Cardinals have won exactly two series: both against the Phillies. The Cardinals walked into today’s game with the opportunity to knock around the only opponent they seem able to and finish a sweep. Being Carlos Martinez Day, a holiday I am attempting to get recognized by the government and my employer, there were high hopes going in.
In the 1st inning, Martinex threw only 8 pitches...but unfortunately one was a low slider that Freddy Galvis hit out for a home run. This was the first run the Phillies scored on him since April 29, 2015. Okay, fine, he didn’t pitch against them in 2016, but that shutout he threw earlier this month against them was pretty neat, huh?
I think the thing I enjoy the most about playing the Phillies is the sense of fair play. For example, when we lost a runner on the basepaths in the 4th (Jedd Gyorko at 3rd base on a good throw following an error by Andres Blanco), they generously offered up Odubel Herrera a mere three batters later to be picked off 3rd by Yadier Molina.
Things began to unravel just a bit in the 5th inning. Tommy Joseph led things off with a solo home run, followed by a single by Blanco. An error by Paul DeJong allowed Cameron Rupp to reach. Despite back to back strikeouts (and Martinez reaching a scorching 101 on the gun), another run would score on ANOTHER interesting defensive play.
Okay, you guys. I’m sorry. I made a pledge to not complain about the Cardinals anymore this season if they would just DFA Jonathan Broxton. But they are making this ridiculously difficult. We are stuck in the Cardinals version of a bad game of Dungeons and Dragons, where no one can roll a good ability check on pitching and hitting in the same turn, and everyone’s defense modifier is set at -5. I am TRYING here, but the baseball gods are testing me something fierce. A strictly bad team would almost be preferable to this madcap rollercoaster of whatever is going on here.
Back to the game. Martinez was left in to bat for himself in the 6th, despite having 92 pitches and maybe not his absolute best stuff today - probably because to that point, the anemic offense had mustered just a single hit to support him (a single by Stephen Piscotty in the 1st). The offense would weakly rally to also contribute a soft line drive single by Tommy Pham and a single by Yadi (raising his hit streak to 10 games) in the 6th and 7th innings, respectively.
In the 8th inning, as if suddenly realizing the end of the game was a mere six outs away, there was a brief flurry of offensive activity. Paul DeJong (really making a case for 2017’s “okay, does this guy have potential or not” award) hit a solo home run, followed by a walk by Matt Carpenter. Unfortunately, Pat Neshek came on in relief and induced a double play by Tommy Pham to end the threat.
But don’t worry, folks. Remember what I said earlier about fair play? They let us score; it’s only fair we repay the favor. After Kevin Siegrist induced two quick outs in the bottom of the 8th, Odubel Herrera reached on (what else?) an error by Jose Martinez. An intentional walk of offensive juggernaut Maikel Franco (70 wRC+!) followed, so that Siegrist could face Daniel Nava, who also walked. Tommy Joseph then batted in two with a line drive to center, although Tommy Pham threw out Nava advancing to third to mercifully put an end to the inning.
The only thing interesting that happened in the 9th was a really crappy strikeout call of Piscotty:
Cardinals come back home to take on the Pirates tomorrow.