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Cardinals Edge Marlins 4-3

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Good game is appropriately good

MLB: Miami Marlins at St. Louis Cardinals
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals come into today’s game hoping to salvage an even series against the Marlins.


Facing off against the Cardinals today is pitcher Tom Koehler, who has been pretty abysmal this year (8.33 ERA, 6.88 FIP) and who also did not realize you were planning on taking that picture just now.

Tom Koehler
wait what

The Marlins jumped on the board early when Marcell Ozuna drove in Dee Gordon in the first. However, the Cardinals would strike back in the 2nd inning with a 446 home run by Luke Voit. Hope Grandma had her checkbook handy. Unfortunately, Ozuna would come through again in the 3rd inning with a single to put the Marlins back on top.

Michael Wacha was dealing early on - despite dealing with getting mildly squeezed on the edge of the zone and letting some and some soft singles early on, he had 6 Ks through the first three innings. Of course, Wacha’s issue has never been the early innings. Let’s look at Wacha’s dramatic fall-off as games progress:

This season:

Wacha - Times Facing Opponent 2017

1st PA in G, as SP 15 135 9 22 10 38 3.8 0.177 0.239 0.347 0.586 0.22
2nd PA in G, as SP 15 134 21 41 12 27 2.25 0.342 0.396 0.475 0.871 0.413
3rd PA in G, as SP 14 70 9 22 7 11 1.57 0.361 0.435 0.492 0.927 0.429
Things go downhill... Baseball Reference

That’s not pleasant to look at! Frankly, the drop off after pitch 25 is even more stark. This isn’t a career-spanning trend, either. While the hints of it have always been present (as you would expect), the magnitude of this is much higher than previously.

Luckily, Wacha was pulled at the appropriate time this game: after walking Ichiro Suzuki and JT Riddle back to back in the 6th, Mike Matheny lifted him for Matt Bowman, who was able to retire Giancarlo Stanton on a fielder’s choice ground out. Final line for Wacha: 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 9 K, 2 BB, 6 H.

Even more luckily, the Cardinals were able to provide at least minimal run support to Wacha today - after the Cardinals loaded the bases up in the 3rd, Luke Voit came through again to drive in Matt Carpenter and Jose Martinez with a double. Note to self: find out if Luke Voit’s grandma gives him $12.50 for doubles.

The Cardinals would extend their lead in the 6th inning with a solo home run by Randal Grichuk. Folks, lets have some real talk about Randal Grichuk. There are 36 left fielders who have at least 200 PAs this season. Of those 36, Grichuk ranks 34th in wRC+, 2nd in K%, dead last in OBP, and also dead last in fWAR at -0.4. Sure, he may occasionally smash a 423 ft home run 109 mph off the bat, but it’s all to lull you into a sense of complacency about the fact that he is basically 2014 Allen Craig out there.

The Marlins would get a run back in the 7th with yet another Marcell Ozuna bloopy single, bringing them to within a run.

In the 8th inning, Matheny opted to make some defensive substitutions: lifting Voit, bringing in Alex Mejia, and shuffling Matt Carpenter and Greg Garcia. This would prove fortuitous! After Brett Cecil allowed two singles to lead off the inning, the Cardinals were able to quickly get three outs with a double play and a ground out.

The ninth inning was of course an edge of your seat type of situation, but Seung Hwan Oh managed to buckle down and get the final three outs.

Cardinals pick up tomorrow vs the Mets at 7:15.