The Cardinals have just won three straight series. Fans officially bought back into the Cardinals. Wei-Yin Chen, probably one of the worst starters in the majors right now, was facing the Cards. Things were looking pretty good. Well baseball came up and collectively slapped every one of us in the face and then kicked us in the kneecap just to make sure we got the point.
As mentioned above, the Cardinals faced Chen, who had a 5.12 FIP and 5.12 xFIP coming into the game with an even worse ERA. He’s not good. He has admittedly pitched decently at home. He has a .258 wOBA against at home, compared to a .439 wOBA against on the road. But the Cards already lost a game pitched by Chen on the road, so this doesn’t really make me feel better.
It felt like one of those games where every little thing went the Marlins way. It started immediately. Matt Carpenter struck out on a pitch that was not exactly in the strike zone and that would not be the last time Chen got some questionable calls. The bottom of the first was worse. Derek Dietrich led off with a double on a soft liner over Carpenter’s head. Then Brian Anderson stuck his bat on a 2-2 count and hit a weakly hit ball into right field thanks to the shift to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead. For good measure, there was another hit in the inning that was stupid on an infield single to Paul DeJong, but that one didn’t cost anything as the next batter got into a double play ball.
In the 2nd, the Cardinals very nearly got a three-run homer, maybe. Marcell Ozuna singled and DeJong reached base on catcher’s interference. Then Harrison Bader got what seemed like most of the ball, but it was at the center field track, caught by former Card Magneuris Sierra. Again, it’s hard to say if this would be a homer, if say the roof was up, but it sure seemed like it would go farther. Yairo Munoz struck out looking on a pitch out of the strike zone to end the inning.
Luke Weaver got a 1-2-3 inning from three straight groundouts in the 2nd. The Cards had a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 3rd. Weaver continued his run with two straight strikeouts and another groundout in the bottom half of the inning. The Cardinals, again, had something small go against them in the top of the 4th. After Jose Martinez walked, Jedd Gyorko hit a bullet towards 3B. Martin Prado made a nice play, but bobbled it and then threw it to second where Martinez looked awful safe. The Cardinals didn’t challenge and I don’t blame them. Because it’s one of those calls that the replay wouldn’t reverse either way. It was that close. If they call him safe, he remains safe. Out, they keep the out call. Because the replay is very much not working out at all.
In the 4th, Weaver got two back-to-back groundouts back to him to begin his inning and then threw a pitch he regretted. On 1-0, Starlin Castro hit the hell out of a ball into left field for a solo shot. It proved important. The Cards and Marlins again traded scoreless half innings in the 5th inning to keep the score at 2-0 through 5.
In the 6th, the Cards stranded two runners, from a walk by Yadier Molina and a two-out single by Ozuna. But Gyorko struck out on three pitches to end the inning. Weaver got two outs in the 6th before back-to-back singles on the first pitch by the Marlins put him in danger, but Prado grounded out to end the inning.
In the 7th, Bader reached base on an infield single. With one out, Munoz worked a 14 pitch plate appearance, which sadly, involved him swinging at a few balls, so I kind of wish he had just taken the walk. He grounded out and Bader advanced to 2nd base because he was running on the pitch. Greg Garcia pinch-hit, hit the hell out of a ball that had home run distance, but foul, and then struck out. In the 8th, Carpenter led off with a leadoff single and Ozuna again hit a 2-out single, but both were stranded when Gyorko hit a ball not all that disimilar from Bader earlier in the night. Looked like a home run, Jedd certainly thought it was one, but it fell short.
Tyler Webb replaced Weaver and pitched two nearly perfect innings, with the exception of a leadoff single in his first inning of work. Then the 9th inning happened. Boy. If you were to design an inning with the intention of maximum heartbreak, you’re not going to do better than this inning. It just can’t be done.
Kyle Barraclough has been shaky lately and that continued tonight. DeJong led off with a single and Bader followed him with a single of his own. With men on 1st and 2nd, Munoz tried to bunt, but Barraclough threw him four balls instead, walking the bases loaded. Pinch-hit Kolten Wong. 3-2 count. Barraclough throws ball four and walks a run in. Wait, no. It appears the umpire decided to call it strike three because he just loooves punching out hitters. Anyway clear ball four called strike three again, consider the game completely altered by the umps.
Carpenter was up, and a fairly predictable walk followed given that Barraclough showed no semblance of control at this point. He was removed for Javy Guerra to face Molina and Molina did one of those annoying things he sometimes does as a hitter when it’s a big moment. He just completely loses his patience and decides to swing at everything. High ball turned into a foul ball and then on 0-1, he hit a ball weakly to short, which meant with Molina running, it was an easy double play ball. Cards lose 2-1 in probably the worst possible way to the Marlins.
- I was mad about this game BEFORE the ending. Like I was mad about it in the 4th inning. Somehow I’m less mad now. Huh. Baseball does weird things to my mood.
- Weaver line: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, HR, 5 Ks - That is a roooough loss for Luke. Thanks to groundballs, he had a 2.32 xFIP today. That Castro home run was not a result of him getting unlucky though.
- Ozuna, against his former team, went 3-4. I don’t really care anymore. He’s going to need to start actually having power because I’m not annoyed with him this season. It’s got to be tough to have the most hits on the team and carry a 92 wRC+ on the season.
- Not really much else to say here. That loss sucked.
Tomorrow the Cardinals have Miles Mikolas facing Pablo Lopez and really it’s not going to matter how good Mikolas pitches if they can’t hit Lopez, which is apparently now a worry of mine. If Carpenter has the day off - and evidently 1-4 with a BB constitutes a day off with him now - the offense is not much of anything. Anyway this one is on at 6:10 as well.