Well that was a somewhat devastating loss. The one thing keeping it from being too devastating - from this writer’s perspective - is that the Cardinals really had no business winning. The Cardinals left exactly three men on base tonight. It would have been two if Grichuk’s almost homer had been a homer. But damn so close.
The game started well enough. Matt Carpenter did one of the two things he does, which is walk. Tommy Pham got a pitch up and in and must have been looking for it, because he deposited it into left field. Two batters, two runs. To make matters even better, the Cardinals made starter Chase Anderson throw 17 more pitches to get the final three outs of the inning. In all, Anderson had a 28-pitch first inning.
In the bottom of the 2nd, the Brewers fired back with a little help from some poor defense from the Cardinals (what else). After getting the first guy out, Martinez allowed back-to-back singles to put runners on 1st and 3rd. Jonathan Villar hit the ball back to Martinez, who handled it and then promptly threw it to center. Sigh. It’s hard to fathom pitchers who can throw accurately at 95+ mph who can’t make a simple throw to another base. And Martinez is far, far from the only pitcher who has had this problem (Lynn in the playoffs for one). After Anderson failed to lay down a bunt, Eric Sogard singled home another run. Brewers take the lead 3-2.
In the 4th, the Brewers had an inning where it is literally unbelievable that they didn’t score. Paul DeJong got to a grounder up the middle and then threw it wild. Villar singled to put runners at 1st and 2nd. Hernan Perez then hit a ball to deep center that hit the wall. Stephen Vogt, on 2nd base, got thrown out at home. Yes, you read that right. Vogt started tagging on 2nd for some reason and is slow. Fowler got the ball cleanly off the wall, threw an accurate throw to Kolten Wong, who then threw out Vogt at the plate with a great tag/not that great of a slide from Vogt. Villar then tried to steal third, but was thrown out when he overslid the base. He then struck out Anderson to end the inning. Getting thrown out on a double when you’re at 2nd is a very Cardinals thing to do.
Randal Grichuk tied the game the very next inning with the bases empty. Anderson had mostly settled down after the first two batters though and ended up lasting six innings with three earned runs, which is slightly disappointing given that he gave up two of those runs to the first two batters.
Martinez didn’t have it by the 6th on the other hand. Domingo Santana, who to be fair is really good at hitting, homered to lead off the inning. Then Vogt hit a ball that went under Carpenter’s glove. Carpenter should not be playing 3B. There’s really no need to put him there either cause Luke Voit is projected as a below average hitter and has in fact been a below average hitter this year. Greg Garcia on offense is not the greatest but him at 3B, Carpenter at 1B is greater than Voit at 1B, Carpenter at 3B. Obviously Garcia over Carpenter is way too big of an offensive hit to do that regularly too. Anyway, then Villar homered to make it 6-3. Martinez didn’t make it out of the inning, getting replaced by Ryan Sheriff.
The bullpens traded scoreless innings until the 8th when Josh Hader was working his second inning of work. He gave up a bloop single to Jose Martinez and then got Carpenter to ground out before removing him in favor of Anthony Swarzak. Swarzak allowed a two-run homer to Pham to put the score to 6-5. Don’t worry they’re just setting you up for disappointment. Bowman threw a QUICK 8th to set the stage for the comeback.
Yadier Molina walked with Luke Weaver replacing him on the basepaths. Both Wong and Voit struck out, with Voit in particular striking out on a ball. It was a terrible call, but it was also 0-2 so probably didn’t matter. Still annoying. Then Grichuk hit a ball to deep center and Keon Broxton robbed him to end the game. That is an absolutely obnoxious way to lose the game.
- Carlos Martinez final line: 5.2 IP, 7 Ks, 6 R (3 ER), 2 HRs, 10 hits - WEIRD start for him. He had a 7:0 K/BB ratio but generally got crushed and he would have been fine with that if it weren’t for the three errors behind him (Martinez’s error included in that)
- Pham is clearly the player of the game here with two two-run shots that provided nearly all of the offense today. Grichuk almost got in two homers himself, but alas the GOBs are not kind to the Cards this year.
- Looking at this objectively, the Cardinals were extremely lucky to be as close as they were to be honest. They had five hits to the Brewers 10, three errors to Brewers none, and only had one more homer than they did to even the scores. If Grichuk hits a homer in the 9th, exceptional run sequencing by the Cardinals here.
- They didn’t need to pitch many innings, but great work by the bullpen. The trio of Sherriff, Sam Tuivailala, and Matt Bowman threw just 25 pitches in 2.1 IP while allowing no baserunners at all.
- Seriously, this is a huge bummer. Almost a huge comeback there.
Tomorrow, the Cardinals begin a four-game series with the Giants. The Giants suck, but the Giants also own the Cardinals so that fact doesn’t matter. It’s Michael Wacha versus Madison Bumgarner so it’s not exactly an ideal start. The game starts at 9 pm because we are on the West Coast.