Player’s weekend starts tonight, with the fun jerseys and nicknames and all. Also:
Wacha (“Wach”) ran into a little bit of trouble after nabbing quick outs from Kevin Kiermaier (“Outlaw”) and Steven Souza Jr. (“Souzbot”). Evan Longoria (“Longo”) hit a pretty convincing grounder through the left side gap, and Wach walked Logan Morrison (“LoMo”) on a full count. But Wilson Ramos (“Buffalo”) saved the day with a flyout to centerfield.
The Cardinals drew first blood in the bottom of the frame, stringing together singles from Stephen Piscotty (“Momo”) and Paul DeJong (“DeJong”) with a sac fly from Dexter Fowler (“Dex”). Momo’s single was a gift—a grounder down the third baseline that hit the leading edge of the bag and caromed way up in the air to where Longo had no play. His tag-up and sprint home on Dex’s flyout was a solid effort though, so I’ll let it slide. 1-0 Cardinals.
Corey Dickerson (“Dickerson”) led off with a single to right and Adeiny Hechavarria (“La Pantera”) followed with another single, but Wach retired the following three in order. Jake Odorizzi (“Odo”) would have retired the Cardinals in order, but for a Randal Grichuk (“Grich”) walk. (That’s not a typo!) The final pitch of the Grich walk was a little scary - it was right at his dome, but he was able to jaguar his way out of the ball’s path.
Wach’s wheels fell off in the third. Souzbot crushed a dinger into Big Mac Land to lead off, then Longo singled and LoMo doubled. Wach hung a backward K on Buffalo with the help of a really bad call:
Wach then issued an intentional walk to Dickerson to jam the sacks, but La Pantera did not provide the desired double play ball. Instead, he doubled down the third baseline, driving in Longo and LoMo. Odo drove in Dickerson before the bleeding ended. When the dust cleared, it was 4-1 Rays.
Odo had some control issues in the bottom of the frame, as he walked Matt Carpenter (“Carp”), Momo, and Dex. Unfortunately the Cardinals failed to capitalize, as a DeJong almost-dinger failed to clear the wall and Momo got thrown out tagging up on a Yadier Molina (“Yadi”) popout. Carp scored on the latter play though, so the Cardinals stayed in the hunt, 4-2 Bad Guys.
Souzbot singled and Longo struck out on a full count, and Wach’s night was over. Zach Duke (“Duke”) took over and ended the inning, but not before giving up a run. (Souzbot stole two bags and scored easily on a Dickerson double. 5-2 Rays.
Kolten Wong (“Wonger”) hit a magnificent dinger on a 1-2 count, only his third of the year. Nice to see him get a good stroke on the ball. Old friend Steve Cishek (“Speedpass”) took over for Odo and ended the inning. 5-3 Rays.
New friend Ryan Sherriff (“Sherriff”) made his MLB debut and retired Outlaw. As it should be.
Sergio Romo (“El Mechon”) mowed down the Cardinals in order despite giving up some solid contact.
6 up, 6 down. Sherriff looked pretty good for a multi-inning reliever, while Romo got battered around again without giving anything up.
Sherriff gave up a flare and a dying quail single each, but did not allow either fraudulent baserunner to reach home. Dan Jennings (“DJ”) took over for El Mechon and gave up 2-out singles to Tommy Pham (“T. Pham”) and Carp. Tommy Hunter (“Two Towels”) took over and struck Momo out.
Sam Tuivailala (“Tui”) struck out Souzbot and Longo, gave up a single to LoMo, and got Buffalo to fly out. Two Towels got groundouts from DeJong and Dex, and a pretty deep flyout from Yadi.
Brett Cecil (“Cecil”) came in and gave up a leadoff double to Dickerson and a bunt single to La Pantera. Cecil struck out Danny Espinosa (“Espi”) and old friend Peter Bourjos (“Needler”). Outlaw stood in and La Pantera stole 2nd base. Outlaw then hit an oppo flare that drove in Dickerson and La Pantera. 7-3 Rays.
Alex Colome (“The Horse”) went for the non-close. The Cardinals went down in order before the Horse’s onslaught, ending in a magnificent strikeout by Grich.
With this loss, we drop to .500 again, while remaining 4.5 back for the division race and 5 back from WC2. That hot streak got my hopes way up to “Heyyyy maybe we are good?” But now I’m mostly back to “maybe we can sneak into the playoffs?” Hope everybody at the park had a nice night despite the on-field product. And who knows? This team is not bad so much as inconsistent—maybe a slow end to August will give birth to a torrid September and we’ll get to see another playoff run. Or maybe not. Either way, glad it’s still baseball season.