Well that felt like a freebie.
The Reds ended the night with a position player pitching, and that’s basically a summary of this game. Last year, Cincinnati’s bullpen was abysmal outside of Raisel Iglesias, and not much appears to have changed. Starting pitcher and The Sopranos extra Sal Romero managed only four and third, and the Cards got nine runs (including a seven-run seventh) off the other guys the Reds ran out there, en route to a 13-4 laugher.
The Cards started these guys, a.k.a. the regular lineup (what a concept!):
The Reds started Romano and a bunch of guys not named Joey Votto. Votto got his first day off since 2016, and I appreciated it very much.
This one started out feeling shaky. The Cards marked two runs right away in the 1st off Romano, on RBI singles by Jose Martinez and Yadier Molina. But they gave them right back in the bottom of the inning (which was opened by Michael Wacha committing the grave sin of walking Billy Hamilton), thanks to a Jesse Winker single and Marcell Ozuna fielding error. Then they took the lead in the 3rd again, on an Ozuna homer, only to immediately surrender it again after a bases-loaded Scooter Gennett single made it 4-3 Reds in the bottom of the 3rd.
From that point on, though, it was all Cardinals. Romano walked in a run to tie the game in the 5th, which ended his night and brought the awful Reds ‘pen into play. Paul DeJong smashed a truly enormous homer — into the second deck in left center — in the top of the 6th to tie it. And then there was the 7th inning...
I don’t know anything about Zack Weiss other than that he is a relief pitcher for the Reds, and that he’d never pitched in the majors before tonight. But I feel pretty bad for him, because that was just about as poorly as a debut can go. Weiss came in to pitch the 7th in what was, at the time, a one-run game. He threw 15 pitches. Of those, only three were strikes. Of those, two were hit for home runs (Martinez and Molina, back-to-back) and the third was taken by a guy with a red light on a 3-0 count. Weiss gave up the two homers, then walked two, then got pulled. Rough way to enter the league; I hope it gets better for him, but specifically against other teams and not the Cardinals. Against the Cardinals, this is fine, please do this again.
The next guy (we don’t need to attach more names to this debacle) walked three in a row before getting a sac fly and a soft lineout. It was 10-4 at that point, when Martinez hit what looked like a fairly routine fly to right that would have ended the inning. Phil Ervin somehow or other just didn’t get there, and the ball skipped under his glove for what was scored a double but in a just universe probably should have been an error. That scored Dexter Fowler from third and Tommy Pham from first — and it is extremely Tommy Pham that up six, on what looked like an easy third out of the inning, he was still running hard enough to score from first after it dropped.
So after the huge 7th inning, this game was basically salted away at 12-4. The Cards added another run in the 9th off of Cliff Pennington, who is not the quarterback and instead is a utility infielder. He threw a curveball at one point, which made me smile, and otherwise acquitted himself reasonably well and did not appear to get hurt. He also struck out Paul DeJong, which... seems easy.
We also finally found a game in which the official Mike Mayers role — pitch in situations that rarely occur — occurred! With the Birdos up a billion, Mayers soaked up the last three innings to earn what I’m going to assume without checking is his first career save. Great work, Mike, see you in two weeks.
Cards win, 13-4.
- Seeing Yadi hit a ball 440 feet was fun.
- At one point the Cards had loaded the bases twice and hit four home runs, only had seven runs to show for it, and the game was still reasonably close. I’m glad that this was only a fleeting annoyance in this case, but it was annoying.
- Another very Tommy Pham thing is that up a billion runs, Pham still went to the ground to catch a fly ball to end it, because he only has one mode.