Next January, when the hot stove refuses to budge, and you find yourself missing some actual baseball action, pull up this recap to remind yourself that sometimes baseball sucks.
Sometimes, your starter gives you 6 brilliant innings, and your bullpen holds the opponent scoreless for 5 innings, and you lose. That what Michael Wacha and co. did tonight. The Cardinal starter’s velocity was good, he mixed his change-up and his breaking ball in to great effect.
Sometimes, your defense costs you the game. Jose Martinez reminded us all that he’s still new at this by uncorking a poor throw to third base, and Jedd Gyorko opted to try to scoop it instead of block it with his body, and a crucial run scored.
Sometimes, your whole team forgets how to hit. The Cardinals played 12 innings of baseball and, despite recording 9 hits, scored 1 (one) run. You can’t win many games like that. Pham went 0-for-5, Fowler went 0-for-6, Peña went 1-for-6 with dink infield single.
Tyson Ross saw a lot of mixed results in the 1st. He walked Pham on 5 consecutive balls, but then got DeJong to fly out to CF and Martinez to stare at an easy slider in the zone for strike 3. He then lost a full count battle when he walked Ozuna, and served up a cookie to the dangerous Jedd Gyorko, who crushed it right at the second baseman. Ross threw 20 pitches (plus 4 pick-off throws.)
Wacha cruised through the struggling Padres offense in the 1st. After Travis Jankowski dumped an inside-out, leadoff single into shallow LCF (for the second consecutive game,) the tall right-hander got Hosmer to roll over on an outside fastball and ground out to 1B, Pirella to pull a ground out to DeJong, and Cordero to strike out swinging. He required 15 pitches to do so.
Ross looked much better in the 2nd. He struck out Fowler on 3 pitches, got Peña to ground out to 3B, and struck out Garcia swinginger. He was now at 31 pitches.
Wacha was victimized by his defense in the bottom half. After he struck out the hapless Villanueva looking, Raffy Lopez tapped a check-swing single down the 3B line. The infield had been playing the lefty to pull, so no one had a shot to throw him out. Freddy Galvis, with Lopez running, followed with a ground ball into the hole on the right side. Greg Garcia made a spectacular diving play and retired Galvis from his knees, but Lopez had made the turn for 3B. Jose Martinez fired to Gyorko, but the former bounced the throw and the latter tried to stab the ball instead of block it, and the ball went to the wall allowing Lopez to score. Then, Manny Margot lifted a single to LF that Ozuna misplayed, allowing the Padre CF to take 2B. Fortunately, Ross grounded out to 2B to end the terrible inning. Wacha was now at 32 pitches, 8 of which came after the Martinez error. 1-0 Padres.
Note: feel free to skip ahead to the 6th inning.
Ross kept the lead intact. He struck out Wacha and Pham, then surrendered an infield single to Paul DeJong that should have been the third out had Galvis been able to extract the ball from his glove. Jose Martinez followed with a single laced to CF, but Ozuna popped out to roughly the same spot on the field. Ross was back on track at 48 pitches through 3.
Wacha set the Padres down in order in the 3rd. He got Jankowski to pop out to Garcia in short RF, Hosmer to ground out sharply to SS, and struck out Pirella with a cutter fouled into Peña’s mitt. He was up to 46 pitches.
Ross answered with his second 1-2-3 inning of the game. He struck out Jedd with a slider off the outside edge, got Fowler to ground out 2B, and induced a pop out to 2B from Peña. He was at 64 pitches.
Not much happened again in the bottom half. Franchy Cordero battled Wacha to a full count before spitting on a very good change-up for ball 4, but Wacha struck out Villanueva again, got Lopez to fly out to medium CF, and got Galvis to fly out to deep LF. Wacha was now at 65 pitches.
The Cardinal offense had nothing, and neither do I. Garcia flew out to medium CF, and Wacha & Pham each battled Ross to full counts, but Wacha grounded out on a come-backer, and Pham waved over the top of what would have been ball 4. Ross was up to 78 pitches.
Wacha kept on holding the Padres in check. He got Margot to ground out to SS, Ross to fly out to RF, and Jankowski to ground out on a come-backer. He was up to 76 pitches.
Wake up! The game’s starting! Paul DeJong led off by drawing an Anthony Rizzo-style HBP, and Jose Martinez followed by laying off some good sliders before socking an RBI double down the 3B line into the LF corner. The Cardinals were on the baord! Ross recovered to get Ozuna to pop out to short CF, Gyorko to ground out to 3B, and Fowler to ground out to 1B. He was up to 100 pitches, and his evening was through. 1-1 Tie.
Wacha was still dealing. Still flashing 95mph this late in the game, he got Hosmer to fly out to short CF, Pirella to line out to a quick-footed Paul DeJong, and struck out Franchy Cordero with a change-up. He was at 89 pitches, and his evening was complete.
Note: feel free to skip ahead to the 13th inning.
Craig Stammen relieved Ross. Francisco Peña greeted him with an infield single on a dribbler down the 3B line, but the righty used his wicked tailing fastball to get Garcia to pop out to LF, strike out pinch-hitter Matt Carpenter, and get Pham to ground out to 3B.
Jordan Hicks relieved Wacha. The fire-balling righty handed Villanueva his third K of the night, got Lopez to ground out to SS, and got Galvis to ground out to 2B. He sat 99-100, and touched 102 once.
Kirby Yates relieved Stammen. DeJong greeted him with a single torched through the right side of the infield, but was promptly erased on Martinez’s 5-4-3 double play. Ozuna then rocketed a single up the middle and Gyorko followed by turning an 0-2 count into a walk, but Dexter Fowler could not bring them home, as he struck out.
Greg Holland relieved Hicks. He had Margot completely fooled and ended up getting him to ground out to 2B, and then got Szczur to pop out into foul territory. After Jankowski worked a 1-2 count into a walk, Holland served up a cookie to Hosmer, who could only fly out to deep RF with it.
Brad Hand relieved Yates. The Padre closer made quick work of the listless Cardinal offense, striking out Peña looking, getting Garcia to ground out to 2B (while benefiting from an expanded strike zone,) and striking out an over-matched Harrison Bader, pinch-hitting for Holland.
The Cardinals sent their closer out for the bottom half. Bud Norris did not have his command in the early goings, allowing a single to short RCF to Pirella, and then walking Franchy Cordero. After a meeting on the mound, Norris got Corey Spangenberg (pinch-hitting for Villanueva) to strike out on a foul bunt, struck out Lopez with a slider, and then struck out out Freddy Galvis with an elevated fastball. An incredible recovery.
Hand remained in for a second inning of work. The lefty mowed down the top of the Cardinal order, getting Pham to ground out on a come-backer, DeJong to ground out to SS and, after Martinez walked, got Ozuna to ground out to SS.
Cardinals played with fire again in the 10th. Sam Tuivailala relieved Norris, and struck out Margot, but allowed a single to pinch-hitter Carlos Asuaje, and then lost his control and ultimately allowed an infield single down the 3B line to Jankowski. Matheny had seen enough, and tapped the recently-back-from-the-DL Brett Cecil to face Hosmer. The lefty got ahead of the Padre first baseman, and then induced a grounder to 3B that Gyorko turned into a huge 5-3 double play to end the inning.
Phil Maton relieved Hand. He nearly got Gyorko to pop out into foul territory in short RF, but Hosmer miscommunicated with Jankowski and let the ball drop uncaught. Gyorko then laced a single up the middle to make them pay. Fowler followed with a well-hit liner to short RF that was caught by a sliding Jankowski, and Peña struck out. After Garcia singled through the right side to push Gyorko to 3B, Wong pinch hit, worked a full count, aaaaaand flew out to RF.
John Brebbia, who got touched up for a couple of runs last night, relieved Cecil and made the Padres his... inferior. He pitched backwards to strike out Pirella looking at a fastball, got Cordero to wave through a slider off the plate, and overpowered Spangenburg with a low fastball for his third K.
Maton remained in for a second inning of work. He got Pham to ground out to 3B, and struck out DeJong. After Martinez reached on a throwing error by Jose Pirella, Maton got Ozuna to ground out to SS.
Brebbia returned for a second inning of work. He made Raffy Lopez look foolish with a fastball at his eyeballs, got Galvis to ground out thanks to another great play by Garcia from the outfield grass, and got Margot to fly out to Pham ranging far into the RCF gap.
The side-winding Adam Cimber relieved Maton. He struck out Gyorko on a questionable called strike 3, got Fowler to pop out to 3B, and got the punchless Peña to ground out on another nubber.
Brebbia returned for a third inning of work, which is just fantastic decision-making. For some reason, Brebbia no longer had his best stuff or command, and walked the first 2 batters of the inning. Sensing something might be wrong, Matheny turned to Mike Mayers, who served up a walk-off single to Eric Hosmer. 2-1 Padres win.
Michael Wacha: 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 5 K, 1 BB, 70 GSc
Tyson Ross: 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 7 K, 2 BB, 70 GSc
- The Cardinals had won every game Wacha has started since his clunker against the Mets during the 2nd game of the season.
- Tyson Ross is the only pitcher left from Jedd Gyorko’s 2015 Padres.
- Greg Holland does not hit his spots.
- Tommy Pham had not gone 0-for-5+ since the 6/22/16, 16-inning marathon against the Dodgers, which ended with the famous Matt Adams “(Heck!) Yeah!” walk-off home run.
- This game ended at 12:15 am, but it felt like 2:15 am.