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7.22.17 Recap: Cards Lose a Heartbreaker at Wrigley, 3-2

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A frustrating, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, seemingly avoidable loss.

Cubs fans fly the flag.
Cubs fans fly the flag.
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Cards' runs today: 2

Chicago Cubs' runs today: 3

Beers I've consumed: 4

The Game

Adam Wainwright took the mound today against Jon Lester.  A match up for the ages, maybe, if those ages are of the 2009 or 2010 variety.  Wainwright has been okay this year - better than I was expecting, to be sure.  Lester is still "good," even if he's no longer great.  Still, it was a match up that favored the Cubs and I went into the game with pretty low expectations.

You can imagine my surprise when I looked up after fifth inning and the game was tied 0-0, with Wainwright having given up just two hits and Lester having given up none.  And no walks or HBP, incidentially.  I yelled very loudly to anyone who could hear (which was no one, as it turns out) LESTER IS THROWING A PERFECT GAME.  Worked like a charm, you guys.  With two out and no one on in the top of the sixth inning, Waino came up to bat.  I just knew he would get a hit to end the perfect game, because it's such a BASEBALLthing to happen.  Anyway, nothing came of it except that I cackled, and Wainwright was stranded at first.

Fast forward to the eighth inning.  Both pitchers are still dealing, until they aren't anymore.  With two out, Lester gave up back to back solo home runs to Paul DeJong and Randal Grichuk.  2-0 Cardinals!

But then something terrible, happened, folks.  Something truly awful.  Devastating, in fact.  Okay, here is a hypothetical: Good opposing starting pitcher suddenly looks human, giving up back to back dingers.  Your starting pitcher is old af and has been good, but not great, and has already thrown 90+ pitches.  You have a bench that includes Greg Garcia, Kolten Wong, Jose Martinez, and (yeah I know, but shut up I'm making a point) and Carson Kelly.  Do you (a) let your starter hit for himself; (b) bring in a pinch hitter, or (c) let your pitcher hit for himself, but then make a defensive change in the bottom of the inning to bring in a guy who is a good hitter, too?  Did you pick (c)?  No, you didn't.  No one picks (c), because if you're going to bring Kolten Wong in anyway, you might as well let him (one of your best hitters this year) hit!

As you can imagine, Matheny picked (c).  Wainwright hit for himself, did not get on base, and came out to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning, already at 93 pitches.  Meanwhile, Kolten Wong came in to play second base, taking Luke Voit's spot in the lineup and moving Matt Carpenter back to first base.  Everyone who was watching predicted what happened next, and even those who weren't (hi thestlcardsfan4).

Jason Heyward hit a screaming line drive to left field, but was robbed of a hit on a nice play by Tommy Pham.  Threat level: yellow.  Next, Jon Jay hit a classic Jon Jay Bloop Singleto center field.  Threat level: orange.  Wainwright came back to strike out pinch hitter Ian Happ, but that brought us back to the top of the lineup, Ben Zobrist.  He hit a deep drive to center field that Fowler could not cut off, and Jay scored from first base.  Threat level: ABORT! ABORT!

Matt Bowman came in on relief, and I stupidly felt so much better.  He promptly gave up a line drive to Kris Bryant. Tie game.  Brett Cecil came in to pitch to Anthony Rizzo.  He gave up a double, scoring Bryant.  3-2 Cubs.  Cool.  Cool cool cool.

The Cardinals mounted a threat in the top of the ninth, after Fowler and Gyorko drew back-to-back walks with two out, but Yadier Molina struck out swinging to end the game.

Notes

1. Paul DeJong made a super impressive play, and that was cool:

2. Do you guys remember that time when I suggested that Adam Wainwright could still be good, but needed to be limited to shorter outings?  I do.

3. I think we're at that time of year where we need to start scoreboard watching.  Hope you lose tonight, Milwaukee!

4. The freaking rubber match (which, I swear to god I write the phrase "rubber match" every recap) is tomorrow at 7:05 CT, on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.  Michael Wacha takes on newbie Cub Jose Quintana.  I will still be happy with a series win.