Paul DeJong, Luke Voit
Tommy Pham, Mejia, too
Baby birds, unite!
Okay, fine, Tommy Pham isn't exactly a baby bird anymore, but you get my drift.
The star of today's game was Paul DeJong, who literally knocked it out of the park. He started the scoring for the Cardinals with a solo home run to give the good guys an early 1-0 lead. Tommy Pham took his turn in the sixth inning, when he singled, stole second base, and scored on a double by Yadier Molina. 2-0 Cardinals.
Meanwhile, Adam Wainwright did that thing he sometimes does where he pitches really well for five or six innings. He was cruising today, pitching super efficiently while striking out seven Mets through 6.2 innings. He threw 87 pitches - 61 for strikes. He got into a bit of trouble in the seventh. After getting the dangerous Yoenis Cespedes to fly out, Wainwright gave up a solo home run to Jay Bruce. No worries, because the Cardinals still had the lead. T. J. Rivera singled to follow, but Wainwright came right back to strike out Lucas Duda. Unfortunately, he couldn't finish off the inning. After Waino gave up a single to Jose Reyes, Mike Matheny made the very good decision to pull him. Matt Bowman came on in relief and got the first hitter to pop out, ending the inning and the Mets' threat, and preserving the lead.
Paul DeJong (that's Prince DeJong, to you) led off the bottom of the seventh with a double. Greg Garcia bunted him over to third, and Matt Carpenter followed with a walk. With two on and one out, Stephen Piscotty came through with a base hit to score DeJong and give the Cardinals back their two-run lead. Pham hit a rocket to third base that Rivera could not handle, but it ricocheted off his glove just so, and Jose Reyes picked it up just in time to nail Piscotty at second. Pham, who really cannot stand first base, promptly stole second again. After Jedd Gyorko walked, Molina came up with the bases loaded, but alas, could not push another run across.
Never fear! Paul DeJong is here! Luke Voit walked to start off the bottom of the eighth inning. Alex Mejia came in to pinch run for him, another very good decision! DeJong smoked a ball into left field for his fourth hit and third double of the day. Mejia, who can fly, scored all the way from first base for that precious insurance run. 4-1 El Birdos.
Seung Hwan Oh came in to pitch the ninth inning. So, I guess Trevor Rosenthal is not the closer now? As I said last week, I don't really care who's out there. And, I don't know, maybe keep 'em both on their toes for awhile. Oh quickly got the first out, but gave up two bloop hits that may have been caught but for the shadows making things really tough for our outfielders. Duda hit a line drive to left that scared me pretty good, but good ol' Randal Grichuk was there to make the catch. Reyes flew out to Pham to end the game. Woooooooooo!
1. I know I already talked about Adam Wainwright, but truly, he was very good today. The Mets have struggled this year, but that's largely because of their pitching woes. The Mets' offense is top 5 in the NL. I thought he did a good job mixing his pitches, throwing his fastball up around 92-93 mph, then dropping that curve ball in as slowly as 63 mph. He really only got into trouble in that last inning. I couldn't help but wonder, could Adam Wainwright still be effective, just in shorter outings? Final line: 6.2 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 SO.
2. Paul DeJong, amiright? 4-for-4 with three doubles. Look, I love Aledmys Diaz, but I also like winning baseball games. I am skeptical that DeJong is really this good, but as Pegasus recently pointed out, DeJong has barely played professional baseball. He was drafted as a junior in college. He played half a season of A ball, 132 games at AA, and had just 190 plate appearances in Memphis before getting the call. He's freaking 23 years old. For what it's worth, DeJong has hit well at every level (wOBAs of .371, .348, and .383, respectively). He just doesn't have much of a resume. In some respects, I can understand the reasons why he's playing pretty much every day - it does nothing for his development to have him hanging out on the bench. And damn, if he's gonna hit like this, why not play him until he doesn't? (He probably needs some work in AAA on the defensive side, but I'll save that post for a different day.)
3. Luke Voit continues to impress. 2-for-3 today, with a walk. I like this kid. It will be really interesting to see what happens when Kolten Wong comes back. For the time being, Matt Carpenter has been shifted to second base so that Voit can play first. We may see some Carpenter at third base yet this season. I could see Matheny trying a Carpenter - DeJong - Wong - Voit infield against RHP and a Gyorko - DeJong - Carpenter - Voit infield against lefties, with maybe some variations here and there. I'm not condoning this at all, I'm just saying, it could very well happen. Hang on to your butts, VEB, we're in for a ride in the second half.
4. Lance Lynn takes on Steven Matz (?) for the rubber game tomorrow. First pitch at 1:15 CT. The Cardinals will look for a win to finish the first half not-terrible before heading into the All-Star break next week.
**This stone cold sober recap was brought to you by Claritin-D and Throat Coat tea**