The lineups tonight:
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Matt Carpenter - 1B
Tommy Pham - LF
Paul DeJong - SS
Dexter Fowler - CF
Yadier Molina - C
Jedd Gyorko - 3B
Kolten Wong - 2B
Jose Martinez - DH
Randal Grichuk - RF
BOSTON RED SOX
Eduardo Nunez - 2B
Mookie Betts - RF
Andrew Benintendi - LF
Hanley Ramirez - DH
Rafael Devers - 3B
Xander Bogaerts - SS
Mitch Moreland - 1B
Sandy Leon - C
Jackie Bradley - CF
The very successful 2017 Boston Red Sox hosted the somewhat successful St Louis Cardinals tonight. So one could say this is an American League game. That’s why there are 4 outfielders in the lineup. Rick Porcello took the hill tonight for the crimson hose and his SIERA is 4.09. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were landing on a Mike Leake start. One could say the starting pitching was roughly equal, because Leake’s SIERA was at 4.18.
Surprisingly, at least to me, the Cardinals appear to be the better team as far as position players go on Fangraphs. Their hitting has been better, and the defense looks better as well, but take that with a grain of salt I suppose. Regardless, the Cardinals recent surge has changed the character of this team’s offense, and the defense has been improving.
That said, the Red Sox bullpen is elite and most definitely superior to the Cardinals’. And of course, they have Chris Sale and we don’t. Luckily, the Cards miss possibly the best player in all of baseball during this short, two game series.
Porcello made the Cardinals look overanxious to hit in the first inning, and he set them down 1-2-3. Leake struggled to get through the hot Boston lineup, but somehow only gave up one run. In the 2nd, Fowler got a nice single but then Yadier erased with with a GIDP... while Leake slowly proceeded through the Red Sox lineup again, this time without giving up a run.
The third inning witnessed a Grichuk walk. And a much more normal Matt Carpenter walk. But there were 2 outs. But they failed to do anything with the gifts. Luckily, good ol’ Leaker got through another inning. 1-0 Red Sox headed into the 4th.
Just as the Cardinals were about to make a move at scoring a run, the Red Sox turned one of baseball’s rarities: a triple play. This was probably the least impressive triple play I have ever seen, as Yadier Molina chopped it down the third base line, the third baseman stepped on the bag, threw it to second, and because of Yadi’s turtle-like speed, the inning was erased.
I hate to point it out, but Molina’s chopping at baseballs and extremely slow foot speed quickly caused 5 outs in the game. Which was addressed in the gamethread:
Swing at garbage pitches
you get garbage results
Posted by Badger257
But, on the flipside, Paul DeJong plays some damn good defense. And that helps in a close matchup. The fact that he seamlessly replaced the ailing Aledmys Diaz with better defense... is so, so lucky for the Cardinals this season. Not to be outdone on defense, Randal Grichuk made a very, very nice diving catch playing right field. It is a luxury to be playing 3 center fielders in the outfield this game (albeit, the 2 corner outfielders were more center fielders than the actual center fielder, go figure).
But to continue on with the efficient elimination of statistical chances of winning, the Cardinals hit into yet another double play. This time it was the DH’s fault and not Molina’s though. Mike Leake pitching in the 5th inning ran into a major problem. He loaded the bases with only 1 out by hitting a guy in the knee. Ouch. He seemed to have run out of energy, was missing the zone more.
He threw one almost down the middle at 90mph and somehow Hanley Ramirez sat on it. Could’ve been a grand slam. Next pitch he hit a screaming liner off the patented green monster, which resulted in a double and 2 more runs. 3-0 Red Sox. Again, Mike Matheny was hesitant to go to his bullpen, leaving the starter in for more damage. Only 1 out and runners at second and third, Mike Leake was left in the game. So there was more damage, luckily only going up to 4 to nothing... but the bases were loaded.
Just to see if he could push his luck apparently... Matheny finally went to the bullpen, after new damage done. Mike, the glutton for punishment. And it got worse, Bowman gave up a double. 7-0, my most hated team winning again. Wonder why I don’t like these guys? ARGH. I wondered if the Cardinals somehow could’ve beat these guys, but at this point it looked like a lost cause.
It kept getting worse though. Tommy Pham made a great catch at least. 9-0 BoSox.
At this point the win expectancy was 99.5% for stupid Boston. Grichuk struck out. Voit got a hit. Pham chopped one up the middle. Things were dire, but let’s talk about the resurgence of Dexter Fowler: 250 wRC+ in August! Here, he hit a triple and sent two runners home. Then, a rare Carson Kelly appearance! He knocked in Dexter, making it 9-3 Red Sox. Which seemed so much better... especially considering how hot the offense has been in the 2nd half. I thought Gyorko got a hit, but he lined it right at the third baseman. So it would have to be an epic comeback later on, if the Cardinals pitching could stop being bashed around like batting practice.
Unfortunately, this was not in the Cards with Brett Cecil walking in a guy with the bases loaded. 10-3 in the sixth. Grueling. Did you know that Matt Bowman has appeared 59 times this year? He is #1. More about relief pitchers: Brebbia somehow stopped the Red Sox from scoring.
And somehow the Cardinals scored a run, which I missed because of my bad, bad internet connection, mlb.tv issue, whatever it was. Frustrating. A DeJong single it was.
And the Cardinals went off quietly into the night, losing to the Red Sox. Lame.
Is anyone going to bother to read all that? Or this? Here it is anyway.
- It seems like every time I pay attention to Brett Cecil, he does something bad. Maybe I should ignore him all the time. But that would be a lot of ignorance, because he has appeared in almost as many games as the Champ, Matt Bowman.
- Mike Leake is apparently pretty gall-durned fatigued... never really got fully recovered from the shingles last year... there was some discussion about it in the gamethread. Will this result in more Luke Weaver real soon?
- this game was a brutal crushing but I tried to have fun writing this anyway.
- this needs to be pointed out again: Yadier Molina hit into both a ground into double play and into a GITP.
- Fenway is a rather silly baseball stadium.
- I hate the Red Sox. So annoying.
- Rick Porcello had a high WPA. Mike Leake did not. Yadier Molina... let’s not go there.
- Hanley Ramirez was 2 for 4 with 2 RBI and a BB.
- The Red Sox did all this without hitting a home run over that dumb wall.
Look at this horrible graph:
At least the ump was good?
The next installment in Is This Team Any Good is tomorrow night at 6:10pm CST!