If I were to care about such a thing, I would care that Luke Weaver pitched as well as he did and did not get the win. Luke Weaver had a “classic” Luke Weaver start if I may be allowed to use the term classic for a guy who pitched in his 24th career MLB game thus far. He struck David Peralta out looking to start the game. Peralta was so certain it was a ball that he went to start taking off his shinguards before the home plate umpire had a chance to punch him out. Yadier Molina may have had a role in framing the pitch well. This would become important later. He also struck out Paul Goldschmidt in a 1-2-3 inning. In the bottom of the 1st, Tommy Pham walked, but got picked off at first when Matt Carpenter had a 3-2 count. That’s... not great Tommy.
In the top of the 2nd, things got strange. AJ Pollock got himself into a 3-2 count and looked at a borderline pitch. The home plate umpire called it a strike and Pollock complained. Manager Torey Lovullo came out to defend his player (and presumably to prevent him from getting thrown out) and he took... an interesting approach. Instead of focusing solely on the call and complaining about the umpire being blind or something, he decided to point at Molina and as far as I can tell, complained about his framing abilities. I don’t really know why he’d bring Molina into the conversation otherwise to be honest. Specifically, he motioned towards Molina and said “this mother-” and well you can probably fill in the blanks.
Anyway, Molina got heated. “Push anyone out the way so I can punch this guy” heated. Unfortunately, “anyone” happened to be the umpire, who to be fair, inserted himself into the situation by trying to prevent an altercation. He immediately recognized that Molina would take exception to being called that word and seemed to expect it in fact. Anyway Lovullo then decided to back away and throw his hands up in the air, which you aren’t allowed to do after you call someone that word sorry. You aren’t some innocent party here Torey.
In an unexpected twist though, Lovullo ended up being the only person thrown out. Molina and Pollock both remained in the game. The rest of the game went without incident. Seeing it live was very strange though. You have the manager of the opposing team arguing with the umpire and seemingly out of nowhere, Molina is going after that manager. I’ll tell you one thing: that will definitely be something that fans who hate the Cardinals will try to understand the context and have reasonable takes. Why are you asking what year I was born?
At this point, it was a trading of zeroes between Diamondbacks starter Taijuan Walker and Weaver. Weaver got the two next guys out after Pollock - yes this all happened after the first out of the 2nd inning. The Cardinals didn’t get a single hit until Weaver himself singled up the middle in the 3rd inning. Diplomatically, Weaver gave up a single to the very first batter in the top of the 4th. His diplomacy seemed to go too far when he gave up a single to Ketel Marte, but that was actually a showcase for Matt Carpenter to show his rarely seen defensive prowess. Marte singled to Fowler, who tried to throw Peralta out at third. Carpenter, recognizing Peralta would be safe, took a few steps towards second, caught the ball, and threw Marte out at 2nd base, who was trying to steal an extra base with his hit. Weaver struck out Goldschmidt with a man on third and one out and Pollock flied out to right to end the threat.
In the 4th, Carpenter walked and both Marcell Ozuna and Jose Martinez seemingly hit the ball very far, but the ball didn’t seem to carry today. In the 5th, Weaver struck out two Diamondbacks and issued his first walk of the day to Nick Ahmed in an otherwise uneventful inning. The Cardinals struck the scoreboard first when Yadier Molina singled, tagged up on a flyout to left - and yes Molina did that with a hilariously bad slide - and was driven in by a Kolten Wong hit that was hit just weakly enough to allow Molina the time to score from 2nd. Wong advanced to 2nd on the throw, but unfortunately Weaver and Dexter Fowler couldn’t drive him in.
Weaver and Walker each had 1-2-3 innings in the 6th inning. In the 7th, Weaver came back out to face the 3-4-5 Diamondbacks hitters, but was taken out at the first sign of trouble, which came with one out when Pollock singled. Matheny brought in Tyler Lyons, who did his job and then some. He had Pollock picked off, but Martinez simply didn’t catch it when he tried to get into position to throw Pollock out at second (because Pollock gunned it for second when the play happened). He then struck Daniel Descalso out looking.
Matt Bowman came into the game because of course Matt Bowman came into the game. Eight man bullpen? That’s not going to stop Mike from using Bowman every single game this year. (I’m only slightly exaggerating. He’s appeared in 6 of the 9 games so far). He walked someone named Christian Walker and then allowed a weak opposite field hit to Ahmed, which drove in Pollock despite Wong’s best efforts.
When the Diamondbacks turned to the bullpen, the bullpen was effective and continued Walker’s start. The same was not true of the Cardinals. Part of it is on Matheny. We may have lost anyway if he made better bullpen options, but unfortunately we will never know. Bowman, who pitched yesterday, came in and sure he gave up a weak hit, but he also walked a (probably) bad hitter first. Dominic Leone, who also pitched yesterday, came in and gave up a single and a homer before being taken out. The Cardinals have eight men in the bullpen and they used two of the four pitchers that pitched yesterday. I don’t understand why we have a short bench so that more pitchers can just never pitch.
Speaking of pitchers who never pitched, Mike Mayers finally pitched and he looked fine with the exception of one very bad pitch. He got a foulout and a groundout from Goldschmidt before allowing an absolutely crushed homer to Pollock. Descalso lined out to end the inning. I’m not surprised Mayers gave up a run though, since this is his first appearance since Opening Day. The next time see him may be interrupted by a trip to Memphis.
Newly promoted John Brebbia came and pitched a perfect inning. In fact, he’s an extreme flyball pitcher and yet today he got two groundouts and a strikeout. So that’s encouraging. Ozuna singled with one out in the 9th, but Martinez grounded into a double play to end the game.
- Weaver final line: 6.1 IP, ER, 3 H, 7 Ks, BB - He left the game with a man on first and one out and I don’t think it’d be unreasonable if he was frustrated that he ended up with an earned run on that one.
- Walker’s final line was much less impressive: 6 IP, ER, 3 H, 3 Ks, 2 BBs - Feels like with a 3:2 K/BB ratio, you should probably manage more than 3 hits and a single earned run.
- More importantly though, the DBacks bullpen vastly outperformed the Cardinals. Cardinals went 2.2 IP with 2 Ks, BB, 3 ER and 2 HRs allowed; the Dbacks went 3 IP, with 3 Ks, 2 hits allowed, and no walks or runs allowed.
- Kolten Wong had a good day finally. Too bad it came when everyone else in the lineup seemed to have an off-day. He went 2-3 with an RBI.
- I didn’t watch the interviews after the game, focusing on writing this, so I would welcome input on those from both Lovullo and Molina, if anyone in the comments wants to provide them. Interested to see what they have to say on the matter.
Tomorrow, the Cardinals get to play the Brewers in a brand new series. Hopefully, they play as well as the last series, without the whole “blowing the game in the 9th” thing dampening the experience. The pitching matchup is Jhoulys Chacin against Miles Mikolas.