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Carpenter doubles four times, Gomber pitches six strong innings in 12-3 blowout win over Rockies

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This one was a walloping.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Colorado Rockies Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

I do not enjoy playing at Coors Field. Home field advantage in baseball is not that large, but Rockies pitchers and batters both play considerably better at home than on the road, which means that home field advantage is a big deal for the Colorado Rockies. That tends to mean negative things for the opposing team, which in this case happened to be the Cardinals. Thankfully, the Cardinals are playing so well that they could beat the 1926 Yankees (please ignore that the Baltimore Orioles would also beat the 1926 Yankees easily, I’m just trying to make a point here.)

The Cardinals struck first and it very nearly never happened. Matt Carpenter did what Matt Carpenter does. He got himself into a 3-2 count, fouled off a tough pitch, then lined a double to start the game. Yadier Molina grounded out weakly and Jose Martinez struck out, leaving the Cardinals in danger of stranding Carpenter at 2B. Tyler Anderson and the Rockies had a clear plan of attack against Tyler O’Neill. They threw him literally nothing but changeups. Anderson’s control was shakier than I’m sure he wanted it to be, but he got O’Neill to swing and miss at two changeups on the way to another 3-2 count. He then threw a changeup that didn’t seem to break. Right down the middle, O’Neill homered to give the Cards a 2-0 lead.

The inning didn’t end there. Paul DeJong and Jedd Gyorko both singled, which brought up Harrison Bader. Bader lined a double down the left field line to drive in DeJong. With the pitcher on deck, the Rockies elected to intentionally walk Yairo Munoz to bring up Austin Gomber. Gomber looked pretty helpless at first, but managed to make contract on a 1-2 pitch. It was a hiiiiigh chopper that didn’t end up reaching DJ LeMahieu until it was too late. Gomber was safe on the play. LeMahieu was about to throw to first but didn’t, and meanwhile Bader rounded third base and attempted to score. LeMahieu was too late on the throw and Bader scored from 2nd base on an infield single. He’s fun. Carpenter batted for the second time in the inning and doubled again, which drove in Munoz for the 6th run. Anderson was removed in favor of Chad Bettis, who got Molina to ground out to end the inning mercifully.

Jim Edmonds said it was important to respond with a 1-2-3 inning at Coors Field and while I don’t necessarily agree that a 1-2-3 inning was necessary, Gomber acted like he heard him and did exactly that, including two strikeouts. Bettis managed a 1-2-3 inning of his own in the 2nd. Gomber struggled a bit in the 2nd. Matt Holliday hit a leadoff single to the opposite field. Ian Desmond then roped a double to left center. Bader’s speed allowed him to reach the ball before it got to the wall, but because it was raining, he couldn’t transfer the ball to his right hand and he bobbled it a bit before losing the ball to O’Neill. By that point, Holliday had scored and Desmond was able to reach third. David Dahl fouled out on the first pitch he saw. With two outs, Gomber walked Chris Iannetta after starting 0-2 on him. With Bettis up, Gomber seemingly lost all of his control. He fell behind 3-1 and on 3-2, he was bailed out on a questionable call on the outside corner.

The Cardinals added more runs in the 3rd. Gyorko singled and reach second on a ball that Holliday couldn’t field cleanly. Bader bunted but it wasn’t a very good bunt. Iannetta tried to throw to third, but Gyorko reached safely because Nolan Arenado couldn’t catch cleanly. (It is insane that Iannetta got a throwing error for this and the error wasn’t given to Arenado) . Munoz grounded into a fielder’s choice that seemed like an easy double play ball, but Munoz just hustled his way into safety. Gomber bunted Munoz over to 2nd base. Carpenter hit his third double of the game, this one was more of the slow single variety and he just hustled his way to second base and made it a double. Molina and Martinez both got their first hits of the game with a single and double, respectively, which scored two more runs. 10-1 Cards after 3.

Gomber allowed a leadoff double to LeMahieu, then struck out Gonzalez. Arenado singled, but it didn’t drive in LeMahieu. Trevor Story grounded out, but the Cards could only get the lead man, which gave the Rockies their second run of the game and Gomber’s first earned one. He struck out Holliday to end the inning.

The 4th inning saw zero activity offensively, with both Bettis and Gomber managing two 1-2-3 innings back-to-back. In the 5th, Chris Rusin took over and he got three straight groundouts. Gomber allowed a leadoff single to Rusin to begin the 5th, but LeMahieu grounded into a rally killing double play ball. Gonzalez lined out to center to end the inning.

The Cardinals added two more runs in the 6th. With one out, Martinez and O’Neill hit back-to-back singles. DeJong walked to load the bases. With the bases loaded, Gyokro singled up the middle. Story was able to reach it, but not transfer it, causing the bases to remain loaded and another run to score. Bader hit a sacrifice fly to drive in another run before Munoz grounded it back to the pitcher to end the inning.

The next three innings went by without incident. Gomber had a 1-2-3 inning, batted for himself with a 12-2 lead and was taken out. Mike Shildt sure loves having pitchers bat. Matt Carpenter then - you guessed it - doubled for his fourth time of the game. Not that I have an issue with it, but the run he was on with homers saw a bit of a dip in his doubles production so he decided to make up for it all today apparently. He now ties for the league lead in doubles with, of all people, Nick Markakis. Molina singled to put Carpenter at third base, but then Martinez got into an inning ending double play ball.

Tyson Ross replaced Gomber and walked the first batter he saw. He only faced the minimum when Desmond hit into an inning ending double play ball. A 1-2-3 inning from Bryan Shaw in the 8th brought another inning from Ross. With one out, he gave up a single and then double. Two groundouts and one run scored later, Ross exited having pitch 2 innings with one run. Dominic Leone made an appearance in the 9th but if you blinked, you may have missed it. He threw four total pitches in his scoreless inning.

Notes

  • Gomber line: 6 IP, 6 Ks, BB, 5 H, 1 ER (2 R) - I like the one walk most of all since that’s Gomber’s biggest weakness.
  • On the flipside, Ross has been pretty terrible since moving to the bullpen. His one start was genuinely great, but in three bullpen appearances, he has thrown 8.1 IP, walked 5, and struck out one. I think nearly all of the walks have been to the first batter of an inning and removed from a double play ball, which is not exactly a sustainable strategy.
  • In “What the Hell are the Rockies doing?” news, why was Carlos Gonzalez, a lefty, batting 2nd against Gomber, a lefty? He has an 82 wRC+ against lefties in his career, and strangely 96 this year. I say strangely, because I thought at least he was getting hits off lefties in a smaller sample this year, but nope not even that.
  • Nine straight series wins. With series against Pittsburgh and Cincinnati coming next, it would be a disappointment to not have 11 by this time next week.

Tomorrow is an off day. On Tuesday, it’s Jack Flaherty day. He opposes Ivan Nova. It will be in St. Louis, so we return back to normal starting times thankfully.