In case you think the Cardinals are confusing, which they absolutely are right now, keep this in mind. The 2017 NL pennant winning Los Angeles Dodgers lost 11 straight games at one point last year. It was a big story and it was near the end of the year. Some people thought they were going to suck in the playoffs because of it. They didn’t. My only point is that this mini-sweep by the Minnesota Twins is merely a speed bump and that you probably shouldn’t read too much into it. Also, the Twins are probably better than a below .500 team for what it’s worth.
While I think this two-game sweep by the Twins will look better in hindsight than, say, the Pirates sweep - which will almost certainly look worse in hindsight, that doesn’t mean the Cardinals played very good. It’s a little comforting to me that, hey the Cardinals soundly and rather decisively got crushed in two games. There were no bad manager calls that maybe changed the game, no crushing bullpen meltdowns, just plain old bad baseball. It’s a weird comfort admittedly. I don’t like what ifs. This game had no what ifs.
Things looked promising at first. Carlos Martinez threw a total of nine pitches to three batters in the first inning. Meanwhile the Cardinal bats didn’t really look that great in the 1st with one exception. Jose Martinez hit his fourth home run of the season for a 1-0 lead. The other three batters went out rather weakly, but Jake Odorizzi at least threw 24 pitches total in the inning. Future me would have warned you to turn off the game at this point, because that was the high point of the game.
Martinez struggled with his control in the 2nd and basically removed the advantage of only throwing 9 pitches in the first. Eddie Rosario hit a one-out single, and then Carlos loaded the bases with a walk and then another hit by pitch. That’s nine on the year for him. With the bases loaded. He was fortunate to face Ehire Adrianza, who hit a sac fly to drive in the Twins’ first run of the game and then struck out the opposing pitcher to end the inning.
The 2nd inning included a 2-out walk by Greg Garcia and a somewhat inexplicable caught stealing attempt with Francisco Pena up. I suppose the odds of Garcia scoring with two outs with Pena and then Martinez coming up were incredibly low odds, but then again not sure three career stolen bases Greg Garcia is the answer. Hypothetically though, Pena DID single in the 3rd so if he was safe, maybe there’s another run there. That’s not really how it works though (just because Pena got a hit to leadoff the inning doesn’t mean he would have in the 2nd).
Anyway, Carlos pitched a scoreless 3rd, but it included another walk. In the 4th, a walk bit him. He allowed a leadoff single to Rosario again, and then walked Robbie Grossman again. With men on 1st and 2nd, Mitch Garver hit a single to left, and Rosario was able to score thanks to an error by Marcell Ozuna (who has disappointed me this year with his patience, power, and defense so far). He didn’t allow another hit though, partially because he was facing Adrianza (career 74 wRC+ hitter) and Odorrizi (career AL pitcher is all that needs to be said). He also got a legit hitter to ground out, Logan Morrison.
In the 4th, Jose led off with a walk, but didn’t get past first base by the end of the inning. The top of the 5th was an inning that was not exactly Carlos’ fault. Brian Dozier got on first from an error on Greg Garcia. After two straight outs, Rosario got a two-base error from an error on Jose. Grossman then doubled both home. Hard to get five outs in the major leagues.
The Cardinals drove Odorizzi out of the game after just five thanks to his high pitch count, but went 1-2-3 in his last inning of work. Ryan Pressly replaced him and he had no issues. In two scoreless and perfect innings of work, he got two groundouts and two strikeouts. Taylor Rogers replaced him and pitched a 1-2-3 perfect inning. Phil Hughes replaced him and well, you get the idea. The Twins bullpen shut the Cardinals down.
The Cardinals bullpen did not do the same to the Twins, not that it mattered. Sam Tuivailala allowed a leadoff single, and then after a sacrifice bunt, another single to drive in that run. 5-1 Twins. Tyler Lyons allowed a leadoff double and then a homer before getting an out. 7-1. John Brebbia pitched a great 1st inning and struggled more in his second inning of work. He got two pop ups and a strikeout for his first inning. Dozier hit a leadoff single in the 9th, and after a strikeout to Kepler, he allowed another single. Two straight flyouts ended his inning and he had no earned runs to show for his night.
- Carlos Martinez line: 5 IP, 3 BBs, 2 Ks, 2 ER (4 R), 22.2 GB% - Make no mistake about it, this was a very bad outing from Carlos. It happens sometimes.
- I seem to be getting a lot of Carlos’ starts, which makes it confusing whenever Jose does anything, so if you’re wondering that’s why I say Carlos and Jose and not the last name like I normally do.
- Tomorrow’s off-day is VERY appreciated right now. I’m gonna chalk this series up to Cubs hangover. Hopefully they get it together against the Padres. I’m not ashamed to lose two straight games to the Twins. If they lay an egg against the Padres however, that would be frustrating.
As I said, off-day tomorrow and then a four-game series in San Diego. I’m not complaining about the weather here in St. Louis, but I would still like to be in San Diego. Thanks to West Coast times, it starts at 9:10 CT. It’s Miles Mikolas against Jordan Lyles. That’s a pretty big mismatch so I’m expecting a win.