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Cardinals Embarrass Themselves on National Television 6.16.18

Poor starting & relief pitching couples with bad baserunning and poor fielding to form a fun trifecta.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Events

1st Inning

Carlos was destined for early wildness from the get-go. The Cardinals’ ace lost Zobrist to a walk on a questionable 3-1 fastball called ball 4. He recovered to get Heyward to pop out to short CF before getting Bryant to miss-hit a meatball slider in the middle of the plate and pop out into foul territory. Then he got Rizzo ground out on a comebacker, featuring a slick, between-the-legs play. He threw 12 pitches.

The Cardinals supported their ace early on. After Carpenter popped out to LF, Tommy Pham battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk. That walk proved huge, because after Molina flew out to RF, Marcell Ozuna did a Marcell Ozuna thing, and launched a home run to CF. Gyorko then stroked a clean single to LF, but Fowler flew out to LF to end the rally. Hendricks threw 19 pitches. 2-0 Cardinals.

2nd Inning

Carlos made his new lead stand up. He tricked Contreras with a full-count change up and got his to ground out to shortstop, but walked Schwarber. He then made Russell his first strike out victim, before Happ scorched a hard ground ball to Carpenter. The ball ricocheted off his glove and scooted toward 2B, allowing Happ to reach safely. But Carlos was able to strike out Hendricks to strand the runner in scoring position. He was up to 33 pitches.

The offense went down in order in the bottom half. Munoz grounded out to shortstop, and Wong grounded out to 1B. Carlos then got a pitch to hit, and connected on a hard line drive toward LF, but Schwarber was able to track it down near the track. Hendricks was at 25 pitches.

3rd Inning

The Cubs scratched a run back in the 3rd. Ben Zobrist led off by lining what looked to be a 1-2 cutter into LF for a single. Then, after Heyward popped out to SS and Bryant walked, Rizzo popped a soft grounder to SS that the Cardinals could only turn into an out at 2B. This proved important, as Willson Contreras followed with an impressive, 9-pitch PA and lined a funky grounder toward Carpenter, which the first baseman misjudged and saw scoot past him for an RBI single. Carlos recovered to retire Schwarber on a hard line drive to deep CF, albeit with his 62nd pitch. 2-1 Cardinals.

The Cardinals had the makings of another rally in the 3rd, but squandered it. Carpenter led off with a scorched line out into the shift, and Pham followed with a first-pitch single to RF. But Pham was promptly caught stealing and, after Molina worked a walk, Ozuna popped out to short CF on Hendricks’ 41st pitch.

4th Inning

The Cubs punished the Cardinals and tied the game int he 4th. Addison Russell was cheating inside and got a 1st-pitch slider hung up-and-in and abused it to the berm in CF. After Martinez struck out Happ looking, he committed the Cardinal sin of walking his counterpart, and Zobrist followed with a clean single to RF. But Carlos was able to induce a tailor-made, 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Heyward to escape the inning. He was up to 76 pitches, however. 2-2 Tie.

The Cardinals quickly got their lead back, for the time being. After Gyorko grounded out to SS, Dexter Fowler pulled a single to LF, and made a great read on Munoz’s bloop single to RF, advancing all the way to 3B. But after Wong struck out hacking at a pitch way above the strike zone, the burden of cashing that runner in fell to Carlos Martinez, and Carlos did not disappoint. Contrasting with his hard line out in the 2nd, he pushed a blooper to short RF that even Jason Heyward could not reach, which scored Fowler. Carpenter then lifted a high fly ball to LF that died right in front of the wall. Hendricks was up to 66 pitches. 3-2 Cardinals.

5th Inning

The Cubs pulled even again in Carlos’ final inning. Bryant led off with a walk and, after Rizzo popped out in foul territory, Contreras dropped down a nice bunt single. Kyle Schwarber followed with an RBI, broken-bat single to CF. Carlos recovered to strike out Russell and (after Happ IBB) Hendricks. He was at 98 pitches, and his evening was through. 3-3 Tie.

The Cardinals would not recover their lead again. Pham grounded out to SS to lead off and, after Molina walked again, Ozuna struck out on a check swing and Gyorko grounded out to 3B on the first pitch. He was now at 80 pitches.

6th Inning

Austin Gomber relieved Martinez. The lefty gave up a pair of hard-hit balls, but escaped in an efficient, clean inning. Zobrist lined out on a hard smash right at Gyorko, and Heyward flew out to CF on a hanging curveball. But showed gained improved feel while making Bryant look foolish during a 4-pitch strike out.

Once again, the Cardinals had all the pieces to put together a successful inning, but squandered their opportunity with bad baserunning. Fowler led off with a walk, and Yairo Munoz followed with a single to LF. But Fowler over-ran the 2B bag and was eventually gunned down at 3B, allowing Munoz to advance to 2B. But Wong popped out into foul territory, and pinch-hitter Luke Voit struck out swinging at an awful fastball up and out of the zone. Hendricks was up to 95 pitches, and his evening was complete.

7th Inning

Tuivailala relieved Gomber, and did not have it. Rizzo greeted him with a single up the middle, and Contreras bunted him to 2B. Russell popped out on a hanging curveball but, after Schwarber was intentionally walked, Ian Happ ripped an RBI double into the RF corner to chase Sam. Jordan Hicks relieved and got pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella to ground out to SS (featuring a bad throw that was rescued by Carpenter coming off the bag and catching La Stella with a swipe tag.) 4-3 Cubs.

Randy Rosario relieved Hendricks to face Carpenter, who he got to pop out to LF. Steve Cishek then relieved and got Pham to ground out to 2B, and Molina to ground out to 3B.

8th Inning

After a long rest during the pitching change in the bottom of the 7th, Hicks returned to pitch the 8th. Zobrist led off with a single into the hole between 3B & SS that Munoz fielded and fired on a short hop to Carpenter, but scooted out of the first baseman’s mitt. Jason Heyward then mashed an absolute bomb to RF to extend the Cubs lead. After Hicks struck out Bryant, but couldn’t find the zone during a walk to Rizzo, Matheny lifted him in favor of Matt Bowman.

Bowman quickly induced a comeback grounder from Contreras, but lost his footing and fired the throw to 2B out of Wong’s reach. But he was able to recover and retire Schwarber & Russell on fly outs to RF. 6-3 Cubs.

Pedro Strop pitched a perfect 8th. He got Ozuna to strike out on 3 pitches, Gyorko to fly out to RF on another 3 pitches, and Fowler to strike out swinging at a full count slider.

9th Inning

Bowman returned for the 9th, and threw just the Cardinals’ second 1-2-3 inning of the game. He got Happ to ground out to 2B on the first pitch, struck out Baez looking on 3 pitches, and got Zobrist to ground out on a comebacker on 4 pitches.

The Cardinals tried mounting a comeback, but came up far too short. Munoz and Wong led off with a pair of singles, and pinch-hitter Greg Garcia looked like he worked a walk, but ended up grounded out to the pitcher. Carpenter then popped a ball into the Bermuda triangle behind 3B that Bryant dropped, but the ump ruled it to be foul. But Carpenter couldn’t do anything with his new life, and struck out swinging at a pitch above the zone he had no business swinging at. Pham struck out swinging at a similar pitch to end the game. Cubs win 6-3.

Final Lines

Carlos Martinez: 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 5 K, 6 BB, 1 HR, 34 GSc, 98 pitches.

Kyle Hendricks: 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 3 K, 4 BB, 1 HR, 42 GSc, 95 pitches.

Notes

  • John Smoltz seems like a fun person.
  • Martinez allowed the leadoff batter to reach in 4 of 5 innings, twice via walk.
  • Carpenter had a case for an error on 3 different plays.
  • The home plate ump was all over the place tonight.
  • My dad passed out in the chair next to me in the 6th inning, so I did not get to yell any of the obscenities I wanted to.
  • The Cardinals stink on ice right now.

The Cardinals look to salvage a win from the series tomorrow night, sending Jack Flaherty up against Jose Quintana. Game starts at 7:05 CST, and can only be viewed on ESPN.