I don’t know if you noticed this while the Cardinals have played .500 ball against the Reds (until tonight), but the Reds are not a good team. Yes, yes I know you’re shocked. The Reds are not a bad team because of their hitting. In fact, their hitting is quite good! They have Joey Votto and five other guys with a wRC+ above 100. The Reds are 66-87 on the year. Do you know where I’m going with this?
Facing a team whose offense is clearly not the problem - the Reds after all have scored 14 runs in the three game series, the Cardinals had no problem getting runs tonight - again. The Cardinals decided to give Homer Bailey two outs before even getting on base, but that didn’t stop them from scoring. Dexter Fowler hit a double with two outs and was driven in by a Jose Martinez single. Yadier Molina walked to pad the pitch count; Bailey threw seven total pitches to the first four batters. Bailey got Paul DeJong to ground out to end the inning. Carlos Martinez had an easy 1-2-3 inning, only throwing ten pitches.
In the 2nd, Bailey made easy work of the 7-8-9 hitters, striking out both Randal Grichuk and CMartinez. The Reds tied it up in the 2nd. With one out, Jesse Winker doubled. He had what looked like a terrible swing reaching for it, but apparently he swings like that all the time and he’s doing just fine as a hitter. After Phillip Ervin struck out looking, Tucker Barnhart singled to put runners on 1st and 3rd. With Patrick Kivlehan batting (82 wRC+), CMartinez threw a ball in the dirt that I honestly think Molina should have been able to handle. Molina didn’t put a lot of effort in blocking the ball and as a consequence, Winker scored on the wild pitch. After giving Kivlehan the free base, he struck out Bailey.
In the 3rd, the Cards fired back. Matt Carpenter and Tommy Pham hit back-to-back singles to put runners at 1st and 3rd. Red hot Fowler doubled both home to make it 3-1. JMartinez popped it up to the catcher, who made a sliding play for the first out. Fowler showed heads up baserunning by taking third on the play. He was rewarded when Molina hit a sacrifice fly to drive him in to make it a 4-1 game. In the bottom of the inning, CMartinez had another 1-2-3 inning.
The Cardinals threatened in the 4th, but couldn’t put a run across. Kolten Wong led off with a double, breaking his 0-16 streak (which included 3 walks, but NOBODY ever mentions walks in these streaks and they really should!). After Bailey got the 8 and 9 batters out without advancing the runner, he fell behind Carpenter 3-0. So they gave him 1st base to face Pham. I’m not sure I would have done that. Pham hit an infield single that he beat out bringing up Fowler. Probably not what the Reds had in mind when walking Carpenter. Fowler flew out to center. In the bottom of the inning, CMartinez ran into some trouble. He allowed a one-out single that Wong almost made a great play on but couldn’t handle. Then Ervin hit a homer run that just made it over the left field fence for to close the gap to 4-3 Cards. He allow two straight singles after that, one of which he reached for himself that could have led to a double play had he let it go. But he got both Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler out to end the inning.
In the 5th, Kevin Shackleford replaced Bailey and he pitched a shaky, albeit scoreless inning. He gave Molina his second walk of the game and also walked Wong. In the bottom of the inning, Joey Votto hit a one-out single and was removed on a force out. On said force out, DeJong threw it way over the CMartinez’s head, which in and of itself is not the problem. Bad throws happen. But he began his throw when the runner was already at 1st. There was literally no reason to throw it in the first place. Anyway, Winker grounded out, so no harm, no foul.
In the 6th, Shackleford was left in to strike out CMartinez, but was removed for Carpenter. The Reds certainly don’t share my theory that Carpenter might be playing hurt and to be fair, since he came back from injury, his numbers have actually been fantastic (though a lot of that is due to walks and that’s not a criticism by any means, just a statement that you could be walking with a broken leg and still get on base with a walk.) Against new lefty Wandy Peralta, he singled on a play hit to Scooter Gennett, playing in shallow right field, that bounced right before it reached him and the bounce was higher than he was expecting. Peralta walked Pham, but Fowler hit into a double play to end the inning. In the bottom of the inning, CMartinez had an easy 1-2-3 inning again.
In the 7th, the Cardinals tacked on to their lead against pitcher who I thought was good, but is only ok Michael Lorenzen. JMartinez singled to lead off the inning. Molina hit a deep fly ball to center field that Ervin couldn’t reach in time, allowing JMartinez to score narrowly. On the throw, Molina made it to third. He only get credited with a double here unfortunately. Wong grounded to first on a slow roller and I swear Molina must have had the best jump ever because he easily slid into home plate. Grichuk walked and then CMartinez curiously hit for himself. It turns out that Mike Matheny left a starting pitcher in too long. He struck out pinch-hitter Jose Peraza, but then allowed a BOMB to Schebler. Go see for yourself if you can find it. After allowing a single to Zack Cozart, he finally replaced him with Tyler Lyons. Lyons struck out both Votto and Gennett looking to end the inning.
Again, the Cardinals threatened in the 8th. They either scored or almost scored in every inning of this game. With one out, Pham walked and Fowler singled. After a pitching change, both stole in a double steal on the first pitch JMartinez saw. Unfortunately, JMartinez struck out (in an unusually bad at-bat from him) and Molina grounded out to end the threat. In the bottom of the inning, Lyons had a weird inning. He had 10 pitches at the beginning of the inning. He got a weak grounder from Winker after seven pitches (17). He walked Ervin on six pitches (23). He struck out Barnhart on four pitches (27). He then walked Kivlehan on five pitches (32). Now usually, I’d think this is the point where you take him out. Lot of pitches, righty up, and Zach Vincej isn’t exactly a good hitter. (The logic being: anybody can get him out, why let Lyons throw nearly 40 pitches). Anyway, he struck out Vincej on six pitches and that’s how Lyons threw 38 pitches tonight!
In the 9th, Wong singled, making it three times he got on base tonight. With two outs and Wong still on first, Greg Garcia pinch-hit. On a 3-2 count and with Wong running, Garcia hit a left-center double to score Wong. Alex Mejia, who replaced Carpenter defensively the previous inning, singled home Garcia. 8-4. In the bottom of the inning, Zach Duke came in and immediately allowed another bomb to Schebler. Credit to Matheny I guess for not immediately bringing in Juan Nicasio here. Besides a well-placed slow roller that went for an infield hit, Duke was able finish the game.
- That was a lot more words than I expected to write, but this was a pretty interesting game! Cardinals winning certainly helps.
- CMartinez line: 6.1 IP, 9 hits, 4 ER, 6 Ks, BB, 2 HR; - This looks better if Molina can scoop the wild pitch, which I’m not sure that he could have, but he didn’t even go into the traditional “drop to your knees” stance. Just kind of stuck his glove at it.
- Five of the first six hitters all got on base at least three times and the #5 hitter got on base twice. DeJong went 0-5, but behind him was Wong, getting on base three times too. That’s 2-3 with a walk for Carp, 2-4 with 2 BBs for Pham, 3-5 for Fowler, 2-5 for JMartinez, 1-2 with 2 BBs for Molina, and 2-4 with a BB for Wong. Kind of feels like the Cardinals left runs on the table here and they scored EIGHT runs.
- My complaints about him being left in too long aside, Lyons was dominant. His first walk seemed to be him slightly missing his spot on the corner on a 3-2 count. His last walk, he just looked done. But then he went out and struck out Vincej and his line ended up being 1.2 IP, 4 Ks, 2 BBs. Strange.
- I realized that there were two Martinez’s playing and didn’t feel like typing out both full names every time, so that’s why you see CMartinez and JMartinez.
- As of right now, the Brewers are beating the Cubs in the 9th. I’m not that invested in this particular game, because I truly don’t know who to root for. Fuck the Cubs though so I guess I DO know who to root for.
- Rockies and Padres are tied in the 4th right now. I don’t know why I’m telling you this, half of you will know the outcomes of these games by the time you read this.
Tomorrow, the Cardinals begin a vital three game series against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Well every game is vital. It’s Michael Wacha against Ivan Nova and I think the Cards have the pitching edge here since Nova has been in kind of a tailspin in the 2nd half (5.15 FIP and hitters have a .379 wOBA against him).