Ah. The true purpose of the 8-game winning streak was to instill hope into Cardinals fans’ heart just so that the Red Sox could rip it out, kick on it, spit on it, and then laugh. Because without that streak, this loss sucks, but the season isn’t going anywhere anyway so it doesn’t really hurt that bad. We laugh in a sort of “Haha this season, am I right?” way instead of “I want to murder everyone in Boston.”
Lance Lynn had the most Lance Lynn start possible tonight. Well, that’s not exactly true. He had the most 2017 Lance Lynn start tonight and the only thing missing was that he didn’t allow a homer. He didn’t allow a homer because he got a Manessian amount of groundballs. His good start by ER came with a poor K/BB ratio (3:3), which for me, has defined Lynn’s season.
In Lynn’s defense, he actually legitimately pitched good tonight and his peripheral stats suffered in part because of a tight strike zone. Now, I’m not sure if that is actually true. I’m a biased fan. Eduardo Rodriguez, the opposing pitcher, had six strikeouts and one walk. It just seemed that way to me, being a biased Cardinals fan. A high groundball rate, which Lynn does not usually have, does suggest he pitched good and that’s easier to defend that “the umpire was bad.”
The Cardinals scoring started in the 2nd inning and provided all the scoring they would do for the night. Yadier Molina led off with a double. It was a high flyball that hit off the Green Monster, closer towards center than towards left. Jedd Gyorko walked on five pitches to bring runners to 1st and 2nd. Kolten Wong tried to bunt and failed and for his troubles got into an 0-2 count. Then he singled home Molina, who from my view would have been thrown out if the centerfielder even tried to throw it home (which he didn’t). Luke Voit doubled to score the second run and bring runners to 2nd and 3rd.
After a Randal Grichuk pop out, Matt Carpenter came to the plate. A passed ball brought in the 3rd and run and a single brought in the 4th. Something funny happened here though. The ball was hit in such a way that Voit thought it would be caught, but it was not. He ran back to 3rd to tag up so it was a weird position where Jackie Bradley Jr. tried to throw out a runner from 3rd on a single. He was safe and the ball went wild. Carpenter ran all the way to 3rd, somehow making it there. Then the SAME EXACT THING happened with Tommy Pham up, except Carpenter got thrown out. In reality, both Voit and Carpenter should not have went back to tag up because if Bradley Jr. reaches the ball, they’d get thrown out anyway. Voit got a bad throw so he was safe and Carpenter got a good throw so he was out.
The Red Sox shortened the lead in the 3rd with a leadoff single by Christian Vazquez and a walk to Bradley Jr. Eduardo Nunez hit a ball back to Lynn, who threw it wild to 1st. Again, sort of a weird play. The ball was thrown right by where the runner was by the time he got to 1st so he knock Carpenter’s glove off his hand. Vazquez scored and it puts runners at the corner. A sacrifice fly later and it was now 4-2 Cardinals.
After allowing two hits in the 3rd, Rodriguez had found his groove. The Cardinals didn’t get another hit off him for the rest off the game. Luckily, that pitch count had risen to 91 by the beginning of the sixth so an error that brought Gyorko on and a lineout by Wong was enough to get him out of the game. Unfortunately, the Boston bullpen is amazing so that didn’t really make any difference.
While John Farrell took Rodriguez at the first sign of trouble, Mike Matheny did not do the same with Lynn. He allowed a leadoff double to Rafael Devers and got Xander Bogaerts to ground out, bringing Devers to third. Despite Mitch Moreland, a lefty, being up, Lynn stayed in. Lynn walked Moreland. Lynn had 104 pitches and stayed in to face Christian Vazquez. The count went to 3-2 and he hit a comebacker back to Lynn. It deflected off Lynn’s glove and Wong picked it up and they had an easy 1-4-6-3 double play. Either the ball was hit really hard off the bat and Lynn slowed it down or Vazquez is extremely slow or a combination off both. Either way, bad process, good result right there.
The bullpens traded scoreless innings until the decisive 9th. Trevor Rosenthal came in, threw a 91 mph fastball directly in the middle of the plate and Bogaerts hit a solo homer to bring the score to 4-3 two pitches into the inning. He then walked Moreland. Someone forgot to inform the Cardinals pitchers that MITCH MORELAND IS BAD. Anyway, something was off with Rosenthal because he wasn’t throwing anything faster than 96 mph so Matheny brought in Zach Duke.
Duke struck out Brock Holt and then some shit went down. He threw a first-pitch strike except wait nope it was called a ball. It is extremely frustrating to imagine how the rest of the 9th would go if that was called a strike. On 2-0, a check-swing was also correctly called a ball, though this further angered Molina I’m sure. He ended up walking Bradley Jr. on a 3-2 count.
In comes John Brebbia to face the righties. On 0-2, with Nunez up, Brebbia held on the ball. He held onto the ball for a while. Nunez was cool with this. He did not move from the batter’s box. The umpire was not cool with this. So he called time right before Brebbia delivered his pitch. Molina blew up. He got in the umpire’s face and before he could do anything that would get him ejected, Matheny started yelling at the ump. It’s hard to say exactly what Matheny said, but at least part of it was “NOBODY IS HERE TO WATCH YOU. NO ONE” . And with that, Matheny had briefly fluttered the hearts of Cardinals fans everywhere.
Nunez popped out, Mookie Betts came up, laid off two tough sliders on a 1-2 count, and then doubled. Pham got the ball off the wall, threw a bouncer to Dejong, who then threw a bouncer to Molina. Molina couldn’t handle it and the Red Sox won. In a game of small things, if Pham and DeJong had thrown more accurate throws or if Molina caught the ball, he would have been out. I did not think it was a smart send, but sometimes these things pay off and it did for the Red Sox tonight. This for the moment does cement one thing: Go Yankees and catch up to those Red Sox please.
- Lynn final line: 6 IP, 3 K, 3 BB, 2 runs (ER), 7 hits, 65 GB% - The groundballs were unusual and a large reason he pitched pretty solid
- I’m going to go ahead and call Chris Segal the worst umpire the Cards have had this year. It wasn’t just the balls and strike calls, which were poor and inconsistent. Calling time in an important spot because you need a break is bullshit and Matheny/Molina are right to be pissed.
- Kolten Wong is the player of the game tonight. He went 3-4 with two doubles and his single drove in the first run of the game and came on an 0-2 count. Tommy Pham went 2-5 with a double. Everyone else - and I mean everyone - got on base only once.
- Except Grichuk, who went hitless in today’s game. He struck out only once, but two of his outs were popups, which are effectively the same thing as a strikeout by probability of getting on base.
- It’s a shame how the 9th went, because the 7th and 8th went perfectly. Seung Hwan Oh looked fantastic, strikeout out a batter in a perfect inning. Tyler Lyons pitched the first batter great, but the umpire gave him absolutely nothing so he walked him. He got a double play ball from Hanley Ramirez and a strikeout to Devers. He only threw curveballs to Devers and Devers couldn’t do anything with it.
Tomorrow, the Cardinals start a 4-game series with the Pirates. It’s Adam Waiwnright versus James Taillon. Wainwright has looked awful since coming off the DL and Taillon is pretty good, so I’m not particularly optimistic, but baseball is not a predictable sport in the short term so I’ll be watching.