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The Cardinals Aim To Destroy Rockies at Busch III 7.26.17

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The Cardinals cling to hopes for the postseason... A sweep of the pretty dang good Colorado Rockies would’ve helped... did it?

Lineups

COLORADO ROCKIES

Charlie Blackmon - CF

DJ LeMahieu - 2B

Nolan Arenado - 3B

Gerardo Parra - LF

Mark Reynolds - 1B

Carlos Gonzalez - RF

Trevor Story - SS

Ryan Hanigan - C

Jeff Hoffman - RHP

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Matt Carpenter - 1B

Tommy Pham - LF

Paul DeJong - SS

Jedd Gyorko - 3B

Yadier Molina - C

Randal Grichuk - RF

Harrison Bader - CF

Kolten Wong - 2B

Carlos Martinez - RHP

Pregame

Carlos Martinez took the mound for the Cards tonight and is having a great year by ERA, and he has great stuff... but the sabermetric stats are not convinced he is top of the rotation material: a 3.90 SIERA and 3.70 xFIP do not scream elite at you, but they’re pretty all right. Meanwhile, the Rockies hurl Jeff Hoffman at us: 4.62 SIERA and even worse results by ERA. The Cardinals could’ve potentially destroyed him.

Not only did the Cardinals have the edge by starting pitching, they had the edge by offense: a team 96 wRC+ to an 84 for the Rockies. So where is the difference here? The Rockies play superior defense and probably have it more together on the field in a lot of ways. The two teams have roughly equal bullpens so far, neither really having a difference maker either way. But the Rockies have had the better bullpen by a notch.

The Game

Carlos Martinez had a “rockie” start to the game: he gave up a 2 run home run to their top notch 3rd baseman, Nolan Arenado. The guy is one of the best players in MLB, gotta hand it to him, and Carlos did. 2-0 Rockies....

BUT... the Cardinals have someone named Paul DeJong, who came from out of nowhere. Who is this guy? I don’t know but he has left quite a mark since he was called up at the end of May. The Cardinals have a Wong and a DeJong (been waiting a while to throw down that rhyme). This DeJong guy cranked another home run tonight, to match Arenado’s 2 runner. Tie game!

To compare the two, DeJong has a 131 wRC+ and 14 home runs in 184 plate appearances at the time of this writing, while Wong has a more normal 112 wRC+ and... 1 home run. But Wong wasn’t the guy DeJong knocked off the team. That was Aledmys Diaz who seems to have all but faded away, real quickly.

Surprise surprise, life is weird and unpredictable. Sometimes the names rhyme and I have to write about them. Carlos Martinez cruised through the next inning which was the 2nd, and it remained 2-2. Good work blue haired Carlos! Maybe he will have red hair by the end of the season. No matter the hair though, the guy is entertaining as all get out.

The second started with a GrichuK strikeout (if he didn’t have wheels and tons of power, he would be off the team by now). Then newcomer Bader was up. More unpredictability: he got on base because of an Arenado error. Sometimes speed can force these errors, because of the human battle with time.

So by the way, it was Star Wars night tonight... and we got to see a picture featuring Harrison Vader. Yes, Bader as Darth Vader. It was really quite absurd. Such is life.

Carlos appeared to be settling in during the third inning. He has one of the better fastballs in the game, but his slider and its movement coupled with the difference in the fastball speed mean that he is one of the more crazy good pitchers around. He just needs to be more lucky, and more importantly, gain even more control and experience.

Well, I was wrong about that, you see. Carlos was NOT settling down in the third. He actually gave up a 2 run double to a guy. And that was Gerardo Parra. Get it together, Carlos! Ugh.

The Cardinals attempting to put together some sort of retaliation with what looked to be a very nice Tommy Pham hit, but he got greedy and was nabbed by the cutoff man. He should’ve just taken first base and been happy with it. I’m not sure if this is because of an over aggressive philosophy from the coaching staff, or what. But it burned an out, and a baserunner.

With a runner at third, and DeJong up again... DeJong struck out. But there was one more out, and the Cardinals masher Jedd Gyorko was up! The Rockies starting pitcher, Hoffman, was showcasing better stuff than I was expecting, at times. Well, at other times, not. The count went to 3-2... and Jedd failed. The guy strikes out a lot, like DeJong.

With the Rockies up 4-2, the game continued apace. In the fourth, Carlos looked more like an All-Star, which was a good sign. He carved up the side like a turkey on Thanksgiving. Delicious. Thank you, Carlos.

Yadi got the party started in the 4th with a resounding single. My internet connection then decided to take a shit on my game viewing experience, and I missed how the Cardinals made it 4-3. It was runners at first and third with one out... Carlos Martinez was really battling at the plate, visually pushing to get a hit. He was actually having a pretty great at bat for a pitcher, dude’s a competitor. And he got a hit!! Tie game!

And it was only the 4th inning, 4-4. Lady luck was on our side, because somehow slow-footed, bad baserunning Matt Carpenter tripled and cleared the bases! Amazing. 6-4 Cards. But the team that we root for was not done just yet... Tommy Pham hit a sac fly to center and the Cardinals went up 7-4! 4th time around was the charm.

So Carlos was giving a nice lead to work with, and he had a runner at 2nd with 2 outs, and he almost decapitated a guy. Well, Arenado was acting like it was much closer than it was, he totally bailed on the pitch. I would be a bit frightened, to say the least, with Carlos throwing fire at me, too. Unfortunately for Carlos’ ERA, Arenado ended up singling in a run, and it was 7-5 Cardinals. Guess it was a wild and wooly summer night!

The back to back speed of Grichuk and Bader made it runners at first and second base... with Kolten Wong up. What would Wong do? Wong has one of the cooler looking batting stances in baseball today, by the way. This situation evolved to the bases loaded with Carlos Martinez at the plate, but he was unable to help himself in this instance.

The game continued, and the Cardinals added another run making it 9-5. Which conjures up Dolly Parton in my brain, by the way. If inadvertently. Just sayin’. Winning.

I had cracked open my last beer already, and it was only the 7th inning. Brebbia was pitching. It was brutal. The worry. I would probably be beerless in the 9th. The horror.

The 7th inning was done away with however, at least for Cardinals pitchers. Good job, Brebbia. Your name looks too much like beer, and I am running out.

The roku3 and the internet once again conspired against me, disallowing me to see what the Cardinals were doing... but once again, this was a good thing, as runs were scored. It was 10-5. So whatever they did, they were advancing the cause. Which is good. Sweeping is good.

I am not sure why, but Mike Matheny looked confused and nervous. After 7 innings. But he is, what he is? Damn, I said that damn cliche.

Cecil was handling the 8th. Mark Reynolds was looking more trim than ever before. Well, he hit a single, that turned into a double somehow. Not sure how. Well ok, it was a bad-ish throw by Bader and a bad pick by DeJong.

But to just bring it home, it was 10-5 at this point, and the Cardinals were steamrolling their way to a sweep. And it was at home, which bolsters morale even more. Grichuk beat out a hit with his speed that most players would’ve been out for. A check swing hit. Well, upon replay, it looked like he was actually out, and it was challenged, so there’s that. But, they decided he was safe.

Then the funniest thing happened, Harrison Bader had a check swing hit too, and this went over the first baseman’s head and barely landed in fair territory. Did I mention that the Rockies have been a good if not great team this year, at least in wins and losses? This is encouraging really.

Let me make a point here: Randal Grichuk had 4 singles in this game. He seems to be maybe, developing into something? Seung Hwan Oh was not terrible. And I am ending the game listening to Debussy. I recommend it... I must admit to be coming out of one of the darkest holes in my life, but this helps. The Cardinals persevered with the sweep, by the way. They did indeed, destroy the Rockies this series.

Postgame

  • Matt Carpenter somehow had the stranglehold over this game, despite a 4 for 5 Randal Grichuk performance and a Carlos Martinez start... his 2 RBI and a walk were opportune and timely
  • Harrison Bader was 3 for 4... he also had a walk, and is faster than fast should be
  • Tommy Pham continues to be the MVP of this team
  • Well well well... let’s not forget Yadier Molina... he quietly snuck around to 2 for 4 with a walk and a run scored... and 2 RBI
  • Arenado was the Rockies MVP... surprise surprise
  • Parra threatened our consciousness early on but it didn’t matter
  • Carlos Martinez didn’t really have a very good game, but his stuff still looks like liquid lightning in pitching form

A link to the fangraphs thingamajig: http://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2017-07-26&team=Cardinals&dh=0&season=2017

I love you guys and hope all is well. Here is a song I’d like you to hear just because the melodies rock my world. The next game is another challenge from a western opponent, the Diamondbacks at 6:15 CST tomorrow night. It’s about to get interesting.