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7/14/2017 Recap - Seung Hwan Oh Stinks, Earns Fifth Loss(!!!), Cardinals Lose(.)

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In a shocking development, Oh blows a save to snatch defeat from the jaws of a 2-2 deadlock. Homers by Gyorko and Bell bookend pretty good game.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Real Baseball resumes tonight following the end of the All-Star Break [This time, it doesn’t count for anything and is an exhibition game as God intended!]. The Cardinals head to PNC Park to take on the Pirates, who have fallen off in a slightly bigger way than the Birdos and Cubs in the early going. Incidentally, they were looking real bad very recently, but have won 5 of their last 6 games, and start the night with one fewer win than the Cards and Cubs. Formerly good pitcher Gerrit Cole faces off against currently cromulent pitcher Mike Leake. The lineup cards look something like this:

Before we get started with the game, I need to get something off my chest. Everybody keeps complaining about Carlos’s hair, but they’re looking at the wrong guy. Mike Leake’s hair is getting ridiculous:

The Game

Inning 1: Things Look Good

So, this game was good, mostly. There was some pretty high drama.

The first inning seemed like a good omen. After a full count lineout by Matt Carpenter (<3 u Matt even though you get too many walks), Tommy Pham pounced on the first pitch he saw for a single. Dexter Fowler hit a real deep flyout to right field - glad you’re healthy again, Dex - but first-half team MVP Jedd Gyorko socked a dinger right up ol’ Uncle Cole’s schnoz (and that after working an 0-2 count into an 8-pitch at-bat!).

Enjoy this:

You might have noticed that there was more going on there than just a beautiful home run from the thumbiest star in baseball. Let’s break this down.

1. Grown Man Brings Glove to Baseball Game

2. Man Catches Gyorko Home Run

3. Cardinals Fans Surround Man With Glove

4. See? He’s Surrounded!

5. What Are You Doing, Man?

6. Oooohhh... I... You Are Going To....

7. Yeah, He’s Chucking That Souvenir Into The Allegheny.

8. This Map Tracks The Path Of The Baseball.

TL;DR:

Also:

Good guys lead 2-0.

Leake came out dealing, striking out Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen (who has caught fire after a very rough year and a quarter) and getting hometown hero David Freese to pop out, obviating an Adam Frazier single and a Josh Bell walk. Behold:

* * *

Innings 2-8 and the Top of the 9th

I’ll cut to the chase on the Cardinals hitting - Gerrit Cole faced two more than the minimum through the 6th - Yadier Molina and Pham singled. Tony Watson shut down the 7th, Juan Nicasio gave up singles to Paul DeJong and Carpenter but got lineouts from Luke Voit, Pham, and Fowler in the 8th, and Felipe Rivero threw 7 pitches in the 9th. (Rivero’s last three pitches produced three swinging strikes from Stephen Piscotty.) So, the Cardinals did not hit much. I saw a fair bit of solid contact that just went to the wrong places. In short, our poor hitting was the result of BABIP. Also, Cole looked like he might be hitting his stride after looking rough in the first half, and Felipe Rivero is very good. But I am also open to the possibility that we were underperforming.

* * *

The Pirates’ hitting was better, if not much more timely, from the 2nd through the 8th. They scored two runs in this period as Leake bent, without breaking. The bottom of the 4th was particularly interesting. Gregory Polanco (who will always have a special place in my heart for being the second most exciting prospect to debut in the 2014 NL) had the best disappointing AB possible, I think. He turned on a first-pitch fastball, first:

It stayed foul after the challenge, but it was absolutely crushed. Then, after the PNC crowd got some very loud boos out of their collective system, he hit another one hard, and thought it was a homer to center. It hit the top of the wall, though,

St. Louis Cardinals v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

and he jogged into second rather than sprinting into third.

Francisco Cervelli hit a grounder pretty hard up the middle, but DeJong handled it well, getting the out at 1st as Polanco advanced to 3rd. Jordy Mercer stepped in with Gerrit Cole on deck, and Leake walked him on four pitches, predictably setting up the double play to obviate the threat that the speedy Polanco represented at third.

There was only one problem with this plan, though (long video but it’s worth it just to see Gyorko’s expressions talking about the play):

If you think this is familiar, it’s because it is. From April 28:

I will never get tired of watching either of those. Here’s what Clint Hurdle had to say about the play:

Just as an aside, Pittsburgh fans boo a lot.

At any rate, we are still in the bottom of the 4th, and Cole grounded out to end the inning. 2-1 Cardinals.

In the 5th, Leake gave up a trio of 2-out walks on 19 pitches to Cutch, Bell, and Freese. Polanco revenged himself by singling, driving in Cutch. 2-2, new ballgame.

Matt Bowman took over for the cocker spaniel in the 6th. The only interesting thing that happened was a Clint Hurdle ejection, arguing about an obviously sound 5-4 double play. Gyorko, by the bye, has been quite good in his newfound role as a permanent third baseman, by my lights.

Brett Cecil escaped trouble after giving up a 2-out double to Freese, and Trevor Rosenthal crushed the 8th, facing the minimum with strikeouts from Cervelli and John Jaso. Still tied, 2-2.

At this point, they canceled the game and gave a win to the Pirates. Who knows why? Also, Piscotty hurt himself throwing a ball to second in the 9th and left the game.

Tune in tomorrow for more baseball! Tommy John survivor Lynn vs. cancer survivor Taillon, 6:05 CT. Be there or be a potato.

More thoughts/videos

See you tomorrow, Jeff. [Editor’s note: Mutter mutter asshole Jeff.]