The Cardinals get to play the Reds again! That’s good, because the Reds are bad. They are so bad that they already fired their manager and pitching coach. They have played the Cardinals five times this year now, and they have not won any of the games. I would be content with playing the Reds forever, except that it’s not great quality of baseball a lot of the time. Also, I am still vaguely irritated at them from back when they briefly popped up as a division rival, so I like crowing about how bad they are now and how there’s no real end of the rebuild in sight yet. The Cincinnati Reds: they stink! The Cardinals beat them 4-2.
With lefty Brandon Finnegan taking the mound on behalf of the Cardinals’ strange guests, Dexter Fowler got the night off in favor of Harrison Bader, and Kolten Wong got the night off in favor of Jedd Gyorko (who played third, with Matt Carpenter at second). There was a little bit of attendant jiggling of the batting order, but nothing that really rates mention. Michael Wacha took the ball for St. Louis.
The game began well for the Birdos. Finnegan had trouble getting outs in the bottom of the first — the first two he got were off a Carpenter liner and a long almost-homer sac fly by Gyorko — and when the dust cleared, it was 3-0 good guys. Yadier Molina did the biggest single thing in the inning by hitting a ground rule double; it was almost annoying because the dead ball prevented a third run from scoring, but Gyorko’s sacrifice cashed that run in anyway.
We didn’t know it yet, but the game was over at that point. Jose Martinez hit the fifth of what it feels like will be about 45 doubles this year to plate Tommy Pham in the bottom of the second, making it 4-0. Wacha surrendered his lone run of the night on a sac fly in the top of the third — Gyorko helped him out with a nifty play to nab the tail runner trying to advance to second and end the inning with no further damage — and the score then stood at 4-1 all the way until the 9th.
I don’t really know how to narrate something like that; it just wasn’t that interesting. It was 4-1, then still 4-1, then still 4-1, and new pitchers came and went but the score persisted. The Cardinals got hosed out of an insurance run by another ground-rule double in the bottom of the 5th — with the speedy Bader running from first, the run would have scored easily — which is one of those things that’s waaaaaay more annoying when the run ends up important, which this one didn’t. They had their chances to pad the lead beyond just that one, and didn’t, which got a little frustrating in the “okay, come on, don’t let them get back into this...” way, but man the Reds just stink and it never really felt like they were going to do anything. The few times it did, somebody bad would come up to hit and that would take care of it.
Wacha pitched into the 7th, and generally looked strong. His final line was 6.2 IP, 3 K, 1 BB, 6 H, 0 HR, 1 R. Tyler Lyons got a four-out hold and looked good doing it, with two of those four outs coming via strikeout. Then Bud Norris came in and
continued his dominant start to the season actually almost blew it!
Fireman Bud walked a guy then gave up a bloop single (that Pham took a bad break on, unfortunately), which feels like the classic recipe for an ugly blown save with the tying run walking up to the plate. Then he got a double-play grounder, which was good, but then whoever Alex Blandino is singled in a run, bringing the tying run to the plate again. But like I said:
the Reds just stink and it never really felt like they were going to do anything. The few times it did, somebody bad would come up to hit and that would take care of it.
This time the bad hitter was Cliff Pennington, who I cannot emphasize enough is not the former quarterback. He actually did hit a liner, but in the wrong place: into the glove of Paul DeJong. Cards win by a final score of 4-2, and play the Reds again (yessssssss) tomorrow at 1:15 CST.
- I’d kinda hoped Tyler O’Neill would get the start against a lefty, but it makes sense to get Bader in there, too. But I do hope O’Neill starts a game this series, because I bet it would help him get acclimated to MLB to let his first start come against a minor-league pitching staff.
- Jose Martinez is a lumbering reminder that we don’t know anything about anything and should just quiet down and enjoy our lives.
- Jordan Hicks got loose like three times and didn’t appear. I’m not really complaining when I say that (it happens) but keep it in mind if he like, pitches tomorrow and isn’t available Sunday and you’re not sure why.
- Joey Votto has had a downright lousy start to the year and will, eventually, get old. Lousy stretches scattered among continued greatness is how getting old begins.