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Cardinals Hit Their Nadir 7.14.18

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Flaherty pitches effectively, but the bullpen blows a gasket, and the rest of the team gives up.

Cincinnati Reds v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Events

1st Inning

Flaherty shook off his rough, abbreviated start in San Francisco, and started strong this afternoon. He battled Schebler to a full count and struck him out swinging with a slider. Then, after Jose Peraza dumped a single to CF, Flaherty got Votto to roll over on a fastball, and ground into a 4-6-3 double play. Jack threw just 9 pitches in the inning.

With lightning flashing in the area and the grounds crew chief poking his head out of the dugout, Matt Carpenter brought the first bout of thunder. He attacked an inside, 2-0 fastball and hooked it around the RF foul pole, presumably just out of Billy Hamilton’s reach. Wong then grounded out sharply to 3B, Molina struck out swinging at a fastball well below the strike zone and, with the rest of the real thunder now rumbling around downtown St. Louis, Ozuna grounded out to 3B. Castillo threw just 11 pitches. 1-0 Cardinals.

And then the skies opened, putting the game into a rain delay, and really messing up each team’s pitching plans.

2nd Inning

After a 50 minute rain delay, during which Mike Shannon regaled the radio-listening crowd with tales of exploding coffins and astronauts, the game resumed, and Jack Flaherty picked up where he left off. He struck out Gennett hacking at a slider inside, and then struck out Suarez looking at another slider, of the front-door variety. He then fell behind Winker 2-0, but battled back to 2-2 and ultimately got him to ground out to 1B. He was at 22 pitches.

The Cardinals kept going after Castillo early, and this time it resulted in a quick inning for the Reds’ starter. Gyorko walloped the first pitch he saw to the track in CF, but saw it caught by Hamilton. Fowler then pulled a first-pitch fastball in between the first and second basemen, but was retired by a ranging Gennett. DeJong then got a 1-1 fastball to his liking and put it on a line to LCF, but was thwarted by Hamilton. Castillo was at 16 pitches through 2.

3rd Inning

The Reds returned the favor by granting Flaherty a lightning-quick inning of his own. Jack got Casali to pop out to 1B on the first pitch, struck out Castillo swinging on 3 straight strikes, and got Hamilton to quickly ground out to 3B on his 6th pitch of the inning. He was at 28 overall.

The Cards ran themselves out of the 3rd. After Pham led off with a ground out to Castillo, Jack Flaherty lined a well-struck single to CF. Matt Carpenter then looped a ball to short RCF, which neither Hamilton nor Schebler had a chance of catching. Unfortunately, Gennett never gave up on the play, and was able to make the catch with his back to the plate. Flaherty strayed too far toward 2B on the play, and was doubled off 1B. Castillo was also at 28 pitches.

4th Inning

Flaherty hit a wall in the 4th. Though he got Schebler to ground out to 1B to start the inning, Peraza was able to BABIP another hit, this time just over Wong’s head into RF. Then Jack lost his feel and walked Votto on 5 pitches, and Gennett on 4 pitches, which loaded the bases. But after a mound visit, Jack was able to strike out Suarez swinging with a fastball-in, slider-away plan, and then got Winker to fly out to medium CF. The long inning cost him some pitches, and bumped his total up to 53.

The Cardinals scraped together another run for starter in the 4th. Kolten Wong led off by lacing a double to the wall in RF, and moved up to 3B on Molina’s sharp, inside-out ground out to 2B. He was then able to score on Marcell Ozuna’s tap out in front of the plate because he was off to the races on contact. Gyorko struck out swinging to end the inning. Castillo was at 43 pitches. 2-0 Cardinals

5th Inning

Jack had to work again in the 5th. He saw Curt Casali gifted a check swing ball on an obvious swing, and eventually walked him on a close, 3-2 slider. Castillo tried to bunt him to 2B, but Flaherty was able to field and nail the lead runner at 2B. Then, Hamilton grounded a ball sharply to Gyorko at 3B. Jedd quickly fired to 2B to get the lead runner, and Wong made the turn as fast as you’ll see, and Hamilton still beat then to 1B by a step. Schebler then reached on a tough-luck error by DeJong where the ball glanced off Flaherty and took a funny hop off the heel of his glove, but Jack was ultimately able to get Peraza to pop out to Molina behind home plate. He was up to 69 pitches.

There was good news and bad news in the bottom of the 5th. The good news was that Dexter Fowler led off with a Peraza-style bloop single over Gennett into RF, and Paul DeJong followed by socking a hanging slider for a ground-rule double. The bad news was that Tommy Pham pulled a sharp grounder right at Suarez at 3B. Fowler was caught off 3B, and ventured too far out of his baseline trying to get back to 3B. Suarez then fired a rocket to 1B to also retire Pham. Flaherty line out to SS to end the inning on Castillo’s 53rd pitch.

The Cardinals were left to dwell on their performance during another rain delay, this one lasting 2 hours.

6th Inning

The rain delay was long enough to bounce both starters from the game. Mike Mayers was brought in to face lefties Votto & Gennett, and that went about as well as you’d expect. Votto one-hopped the wall in RCF with a double on the first pitch he saw, and Scooter followed with another double, this one to the LCF wall. Mayers was in trouble. He was able to get Suarez to ground out to SS, which moved Gennett to 3B and set up a pivotal play in the game. After Matheny intentionally walked Winker, the Reds decided to put the squeeze play on, and totally botched the execution. The batter, Curt Casali, was clearly expecting high 90s, and was completely fooled by Mayers’ slider, resulting in him missing the ball entirely as Gennett made his break towards home. Gennett stayed in the run-down long enough for Winker to advance to 3B, but Casali grounded out on a comebacker to cut the rally short. 2-1 Cardinals.

The Cardinals returned the Reds gift in the bottom of the 6th. Carpenter led off with a double down the RF line off lefty Kyle Crockett. Wong tried to bunt him to 3B, but couldn’t get the ball far enough away from the catcher, and resulted in just a simple out at 1B. Austing Brice then relieved him to face Molina, and surrendered a long drive to RF that a falling Scott Schebler caught before he fell into the wall and injured his shoulder. After he was removed from the game, Ozuna looked completely overmatched as he struck out swinging at a series of sliders.

7th Inning

The Reds’ offense finally broke through int he 7th, against Jordan Hicks. Hicks started the inning by plunking pinch-hitter Dilson Herrera with his first pitch, and then walking Hamilton on 4 straight balls. Adam Duvall then blooped a single to RF to load the bases and bring up the last guy you want to face in that situation: Joey Votto. Hicks looked much better facing the Reds’ first baseman, and actually struck him out with a perfectly placed fastball, but Gennett followed with an RBI single to RF, and Suarez chased him from the game with a 2-run single to CF. Greg Holland relieved him, and got Winker to pop out to Molina behind home plate, and Casali to pop out to 2B. 5-2 Reds.

David Hernandez relieved Brice. He got Gyorko to ground out to 3B, before Fowler tapped an infield single back to his right. But DeJong missed a hanging breaking ball and popped out to 2B, and Pham flew out to CF to end the inning.

8th Inning

The game is already over, why are you reading this? It’s just gonna make you mad. Come on, let’s go grab a drink and take a page out of KMOX’s book and just replay the 1982 World Series in our heads and enjoy our Saturday night. Porter singles to RF off Caldwell, bringing home Lonnie Smith. Braun follows with another single, this one scoring Hernandez. The Cardinals are 3 outs away. See how nice this is?

Anywho, Holland returned to try and eat a whole inning, but didn’t have the stomach for it. Alex Blandino & Billy Hamilton led off with a pair of singles to RF and, after Duvall struck out swinging, Peraza dumped another weak, annoying single to LF to load the bases for Votto, and Matheny had to go to his bullpen. Tyler Lyons relieved him, but Joseph Daniel Votto would not be denied a second time. He got a breaking ball to his liking and lined it to CF, scoring 2. Lyons then struck out Gennett, and Luke Gregerson relieved him to get Suarez to fly out to LF. 7-2 Reds.

Amir Garrett relieved Hernandez, and sandwiched a pair of strikeouts to Bader & Wong around a line out to RF by Carpenter.

9th Inning

So David Freese will lead us off in the bottom of the 11th inning. Jake Westbrook did well to get them to this point, and Freese has already had enough heroics in this game to cement himself in Cardinals lore for eternity, but would it be too much to ask for a little more? Mark Lowe has had a good season, but does not fare any better against righties than he does lefties. And so, Freese worked him to a full count before getting a low fastball to his liking, and gave it a ride to CF. The ball lands on the berm in CF, is scooped up by a delirious fan, and we are going to Game 7 of the 2011 World Series.

Snap back to reality, Bud Norris was brought in to relieve Gregerson. Winker led off with an embarrassing “single” off Wong’s glove. After Casali struck out, Blandino was hit by a pitch, bringing up Hamilton for an odd play. The Reds center fielder grounded a ball back to Norris, but Norris threw wide of DeJong at 2B, and the ball bounced off his glove into the OF. But Blandino rounded the 2B bag, and was picked off by Wong, who was backing up the play in short CF. Then, another dumb play occurred when the ridiculous Jose Peraza grounded a ball up the middle, which a diving DeJong reached. However, Wong ran into the ump, and couldn’t reach the 2B bag in time to beat the runner, so everyone was safe. Norris had suffered enough, so Brett Cecil entered to face Votto, and got him to ground out to 1B. 8-2 Reds.

Power-hitting Michael Lorenzen closed this one out. Yadi & Jedd sandwiched a pair of singles around a Jose Martinez strike out to start the inning, but Fowler struck out on a foul tip, and DeJong grounded out to 3B to end the game. Reds win 8-2.

Final Lines

Jack Flaherty: 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 HR, 5 K, 3 BB, 65 GSc, 69 pitches

Luis Castillo: 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 HR, 2 K, 0 BB, 50 GSc, 53 pitches

Notes

  • The Cardinals led 2-0 before the 2 hour rain delay, then got beat 8-0 thereafter.
  • Joey Votto had 4 PAs after that 2nd rain delay.
  • Matheny was asked by Goold in the post-game interview if his faith that this team will be better is based on something tangible, like players’ track record or scouting, or if it was more based on blind faith - Matheny said that this is a good team, and that will shine through at some point (4:03). Jeff Jones followed up that question by asking if there was any negativity building in the clubhouse - Matheny said no (5:16).
  • Mike Matheny, Bill Mueller, & John Mabry were fired after the game.

The Cardinals will look to salvage a win from this trainwreck of a series and end the first half on the right foot tomorrow, sending Miles Mikolas to face Anthony DeSclafani. Game starts at 1:15 CST, and can be viewed on FSMW.