Come in. Kick back. Stay a while. I’m settling in on the couch myself, watching X-Men: Apocalypse with a buddy while I wait on the MLB stream to start on my laptop. Haven’t seen this installment yet and I’m at least mildly intrigued. Bringing in Scott Summers as a high schooler and watching him harness his powers as Cyclops is cool, and Michael Fassbender is unsurprisingly portraying a very compelling young Magneto. Great 80’s aesthetics. But then there’s this Apocalypse guy, and he seems really strong, like unbeatably strong. I don’t see how they’re gonna get out of this one.
I really should be doing my corporate finance homework. It’s not time sensitive though, so that’s a tomorrow problem. No time for that today. I’ve gotta watch the Masters, the Cards, the Blues and Game of Thrones somehow. Not enough hours in the day.
Apocalypse just turned this guys wings into metal?
Ah, the stream is starting.
Dan McLaughlin and Brad Thompson on the call tonight - cue the self deprecating fastball velocity jokes.
Bright and sunny day in Monterrey, Mexico this afternoon. Matt Carpenter works a full count before drawing a walk to start the game. Bang! Goldschmidt sneaks a grounder under Iglesias’s glove at short for a no-out double. Matt Carpenter to third.
DeJong just grounded right back to the pitcher, who then caught Matt Carpenter in a run down. Please don’t tell me we’re playing this strand runners in scoring position thing again today...runners on first and second, one out.
Right when this writer begins to feel jaded by yesterday’s effort, Ozuna drives a low and away ball out to right field. The big bear follows Goldschmidt and Molina all the way home...3-0 Cardinals, one out.
Yadi grounds out to third, bringing Tyler O’Neill to the plate. I like the decision to start O’Neill in center today. Work this guy into the lineup more.
O’Neill goes deep! DeSclefani served up a meatball that O’Neill converted into a light tower shot to left. 4-0 Cardinals.
Dexter Fowler continues to monopolize the bloop hit market. Somewhere, Magneuris Sierra is smiling. To Fowler’s credit, he legged the outfield mishap to second base. But now it looks like he rolled his ankle rounding the bag and the trainers are out.
Fowler stays in the game.
With two outs, the Reds elect to intentionally walk Kolten Wong. He’s killing us. Miles Mikolas then drops the bathead on an 0-2 pitch; fly out to center. Let’s head to the bottom.
Commercial break: Magneto’s gone full blown revenge-fueled bad guy at this point, and Apocalypse destroyed all the nukes.
Here comes Mikolas, beginnings of a dirt stache and all. Jesse Winker reaches on a single passed a diving Kolten Wong to lead off the inning. Wong just made up for it with a nifty spinning double play off Votto, two down. Yasiel Puig goes down quickly, grounding up the middle and into the hands of DeJong.
Cardinals lead 4-0.
Adolis Garcia is having himself a day at Memphis. 2-3 with a double and a home run thus far.
Deja vu now, Carpenter leads off the second. Matt lifts a low 1-1 pitch to straightaway center, one out. Goldschmidt gets ahead in the count 3-1, but then taps a low pitch to second. Two down.
DeJong jumps on an 0-1 pitch and drives it out to left field, two out double. Man, this guy’s on a tear. If he can wRC+ ~120 this year we’ve got a heck of a player on our hands.
Ozuna steps in with a chance for a two out RBI. He lines a screamer over the head of DeSclefani, but Peraza is there to make the play. To the bottom of the inning.
Interlude: Apocalypse has kidnapped Professor X, Magneto is drinking the kool-aid, the kids just found Wolverine. Cue scrappy underdog victory.
Eugenio Saurez leads off the bottom of the second. Saurez rips a 1-1 pitch down the left field line and off the wall, good for a no out double. Schott Schebler up batting 5th, he jumps on the first pitch to fly out to O’Neill. One away.
Dang, Mikolas! Jose Peraza poked at a slider and drove a hard liner back at the mound. Mikolas flashed the reflexes, knocked the ball down, and went to Goldy. Two outs.
Tucker Barnhart barely puts up a fight and flies out to Fowler. Mikolas is working fast today, drawing weak contact early and often. He’s thrown 14 pitches through two innings.
Yadi’s here to lead off the inning. Gotta admit I didn’t look down at the at bat until he flew out to left. Think it was 3-1. X-Men’s hitting the climax - Professor X was getting his powers drained or something like that, but was rescued by the kids just in the nick of time. Is this the second time horsemen have failed to defend Apocalypse? Apocalypse has a hiring problem.
Here comes muscles now, ready to personally victimize DeSclefani again. He digs himself a quick 0-2 hole, watches a slider in the dirt, then waves at another slider in the dirt. Spoke too soon.
Forget what I said about Dexter earlier, he just really put a charge into a ball to center. Caught at the warning track, but thats improvement, right? Right? he, he (nervous laughter, looks around for approval, doesn’t get it).
Hey, the movie’s taking a turn. Professor X just got into Apocalypse’s brain somehow. Epic showdown in the nether-realm. He’s too powerful this time...UNTIL MAGNETO FLIES IN. Love a little betrayal and redemption narrative.
Jose Iglesias leads off the bottom of the third and immediately jumps on the first pitch. Single out to left, one on no outs.
Welp, my stream just decided to start acting funky. It’s back now, but it took me the rest of the inning to iron things out. My router asks humbly for your mercy. Gameday tells me Mikolas gathered a groundout and a pair of strikeouts. Atta boy, Mik, I bet it was saucy.
Ah, here’s Wong to lead off the inning. He’s behind 1-2 but still battling. Just fouled off a screamer in on the hands. Ball high and outside, 2-2. Foul ball and a slider in the dirt, full count 3-2. Game, set, match. DeSclefani escapes with this one, as Votto fields a low rocket off the bat of Wong. One down.
Mikolas goes down on strikes quickly, two down in a hurry. It’s okay though, Carpenter’s rocking some capital-s Shades today. Don’t know how he did it, but he’s found the perfect balance of Robocop and CYC soccer coach that always plays his son, even though his son is hot garbage at sports. Man’s gotta dream vicariously.
I digress, 3-2 count. Carpenter waves at a 89mph ball above the zone, looks like we’re changing sides.
Sidebar: Apocalypse lost, Magneto and Professor X just shared a heartfelt moment at the school. But wait - now we’re back in the Weapon X lab. When will they ever learn to stop creating super mutants? Can someone fill me in on Essex Corp? Solid film, 3/5 Andrew points.
Puig steps into the box to lead off the bottom of the frame. He just flew out to deep right, and I don’t know what it was but my gut told me that ball would carry out. All is well.
Here’s Suarez, who doubled earlier in the game. Mikolas has fallen behind 3-1 pretty fast. Good 93mph heater on the black, Suarez did well to get a piece of it. 3-2. Mikolas leaves a heater high and outside, and we’ve got a runner on first with one out.
Schebler’s back, and he weakly fouls off a get-me-over curve to start the at bat. Mikolas gets ahead 1-2, but gets squeezed on the inside part of the plate. 2-2. Woof! Schebler just took a ball deep that barely leaked foul. Next pitch, Schebler ground to Wong. Wong backhands, tosses to DeJong, DeJong to Goldschmidt. Double play turned, inning over.
Cardinals lead 4-0.
Paused the stream real quick, time to make a plate of food. The boys are eating lasagna tonight. Hot take here, but I’ve always found lasagna to be the most overrated noodle-based food. There goes half my readership. Prove me wrong.
Goldy’s here to lead off the fifth. He just got ahead very quickly 3-0, let’s see if he has the green light. Fastball away, foul ball. DeSclefani tries to back to the same location, but misses outside. No out walk, DeJong coming up.
Here comes David Bell and there goes DeSclefani. Michael Lorenzen is coming in, and a quick cursory search isn’t instilling much fear in me. Interesting forearm tats, though.
That’s what I get for overconfidence. Lorenzen forced DeJong into popping out to right rather quickly, and Ozuna promptly hits a worm burner back to short for a double play. Don’t worry Miles, we’re coming back for you.
Welp, Carpenter opened up the frame with a throwing error. In steps Tucker Barnhart. Dan’s musing about the Mexican President’s love of baseball, and all the initiatives to grow the game. Cool stuff. Now Barnhardt singles and Peraza makes it all the way to third. Runners on the corners, no outs. Gulp.
Jose Iglesias just popped out to DeJong, so there’s progress at least. But now, here’s Michael Lorenzen stepping in. He’s starting to play two ways this year, which will be interesting, and he’s batting for himself.
Wait..the pitcher just doubled? I thought the two-way stuff was just fluff. Two one, one out now after Peraza scored. 4-1 Cardinals.
It’s getting worse. Send help. Jesse Winker just homered to tie the game. Just when I was starting to feel good about this game. We’re tied.
Whew, got out of that with no more damage. Votto grounded out but Puig doubled. Eugenio Suarez went down on strikes, threat neutralized.
Lorenzen start his second inning of work as Molina steps to the dish. Yadi cracks a 0-1 pitch to short, thrown out halfway down the line. One away.
O’Neill just stepped in and promptly singled up the middle. Good to see him having a day. Now in steps Fowler, he of inconsistent contact today. You can tell his batting eye is still there, but man is he laboring through the zone. Remember what I said about his eye? He just got the count to 3-1. And here’s the walk. Runners on first and second, one out. Color me cautiously optimistic.
It’s a little different being able to feel confident in Wong at the dish in this situation, huh? In years past I would be dreading this. He’s just worked a full count too. Agh, he flew out to Winker. Two away now, let’s not squander this boys.
In steps Gyorko to pinch hit for Mikolas. 1-2 count now. Jedd just spoiled a low and away slider. Lorenzen went back to the same spot, and this time he got Gyorko.
Golden opportunity, just pissed right away. It’s fine, I’m fine. But I swear to all that is good, if Tyler Webb even looks at a baseball I’ll scream.
Just switched over to the ESPN feed.
John Gant just came out to start the bottom of the sixth. Such a shame, it was all going smooth for Mikolas in the early going. One bad inning.
Schebler steps in against Gant, and the two quickly battle to a 3-2 count. Woah - Gant just wrung up Schebler on a NASTY changeup/vulcan/turkey-vulture/whatever-McCarver-calls-it-now. So much drop. My god.
Here’s Peraza again. On a 2-2 count, he rips a high bouncing grounder to Kolten Wong. Wong handled it nicely, flipped to Goldschmidt. Two away.
Old friend Tucker Barnhart up now. He draws the count full and gets rewarded with a walk. One on, two outs.
Iglesias up to the plate. Gant falls behind 2-1. He chops one back to Gant, who makes a ridiculously acrobatic move to snare the bouncer. Out number three, let’s head to seventh.
New movie alert: more people joined the room, we just turned on Vice. Christian Bale gets fat and turns into Dick Cheney. I have high hopes for this one.
Carpenter steps out to lead off the inning. Amir Garret has taken over for Michael Lorenzen. Tie game no more! Carpenter just jumped on the first pitch and drove it out to left center. Cardinals regain the lead, 5-4.
That’s it for Amir Garrett, it appears. Jared Hughes will be coming in to take over. He had one job...oops.
Hughes starts Goldschmidt out with a ball, then drops a sinker in for strike one. Now Hughes got away with a slider out of the zone for called strike two. Two fouls and a ball low, 2-2. Hughes goes back to the slider and gets Goldy. One out.
DeJong steps in for the fourth time. His eye has looked better this year, like he has a better idea of what he wants to drive. Blast it. DeJong just grounded out to third. Two down.
Enter Oso Grande, thicker than a milkshake. 2-1 count, AND OH MY GOD HOLY MOONSHOT. Ozuna just launched, I MEAN LAUNCHED, a no-doubter to left field. We have a 2 run lead, folks. 6-4 Cardinals.
In steps Yadi. The at bat starts off with two balls. Now Yadi has worked the count to a favorable 3-1. After going on a check swing, he golfed a low ball into left for a single. One on, two outs.
Now we have Tyler O’Neill. Muscles just fought and drew the count full 3-2. Now he’s converted it into a walk. Runners on first and second, no outs.
Here comes Dexter now, with a chance to blow the game wide open. Now he’s just jumped on the first pitch, driving it to right for a single. All runners advance, bases loaded. Baseball is fun, the Reds look rattled. Mess them up, Kolten.
Pitching change! Zach Duke will toe the rubber against the Cardinals once again.
Pause: Springfield is going into extra innings; Montero and Carlson are hittless for the night.
Now the battle of wills. Duke misses with the first two pitches, 2-0. Here’s another slider missing away, 3-0. Slider inside and we have a run walked to the plate. Cardinals increase the lead, 7-4.
Pinch hitter alert - Jose Martinez steps into the box with the bases loaded. Cafecito quickly get ahead, 2-1. Slow chopper foul, thankfully. I want chaos. Bring the heat, Jose. 2-2. Another fouled off. Single up the middle! Two score, Cardinals now lead 9-4.
Carpenter grounds into the shift and we head to the bottom of the inning.
Water break: Woof. That was wild. I need a second to catch my breath. Seriously...the Ozuna home run. Watch it on repeat Clockwork Orange style.
Domininc Leone is in to pitch the seventh, facing Phillip Ervin. Ervin just hit a missile into foul territory, Leone really got away with one. 2-2. Wild pitch on a slider outside, 3-2. Slider away. and he got him. One down.
After a short mound visit, Jesse Winker steps in and quickly goes down 1-2. After getting the count to 2-2, Winker get called out on strikes Two up, two down.
The great Joey Votto steps in now. He’s grounded out twice and struckout once today. After a protracted battle, Leone wins by inducing a fly out to center. On we go to the eighth.
Goldschmidt is here to lead off the inning. He is facing off against Robert Stephenson. You know, that guy who used to be a top pitching prospect then just kinda fell apart. He’s kicking around still.
Another full count in this battle, before Goldy was sent down on strikes. He seemed too tentative there. No need to get too fine with it.
In steps Paul DeJong, who lifts the first pitch into left for the out. Two down.
Ozuna now gets a chance to do more damage. Spoke way too soon - he just whiffed on a slider in the dirt in a 1-2 count. On to the bottom!
Update: Springfield just pulled out the win, 8-6. The final blow came in the form of an Irving Lopez 2-run homer.
Giovanny Gallegos is the pitcher of choice for the Cardinals in the home half.
Crud. He just gave up a home run to Puig. 9-5 Cardinals. It’s okay though, he just struckout Eugenio Suarez.
Time for a pitching change now. Looks like it will be Andrew Miller coming on to face lefty Scott Schebler. Wait no, it’s Matt Kemp pinch hitting now. I admit it, I’m not without nerves. See? He singles faster than I can type. One on.
Up steps Peraza, who works the count 2-2 before going down on a slider. Two outs.
Curt Casali is now pinch hitting for Tucker Barnhart. You should all be trembling. Also never listen to anything I say. Casali just drew a four pitch walk.
Substitutions: Ozuna out, O’Neill to left, Munoz to center, Hicks in for Miller.
Enter the dragon. Derek Deitrich steps in and takes strike one at the knees. Now here’s ball one. Aaaaand Deitrich gets made to look silly on a slider to his back foot. 1-2. Hicks goes back to the pitch, and catches the batter on the foot. Dietrich appears shaken, now he’s limping out. Ouch. Bases loaded.
Tying run steps to the plate.
Pitcher Tyler Mahle pinch runs for Dietrich. Kyle Farmer steps to the plate. 1-1 count, and Farmer grounds out to DeJong. DeJong flips to Wong. We now move to the ninth, my friends...
Pitching Change: Wandy Peralta comes in for Robert Stephenson, trying to stop a four run deficit from widening.
Up steps Yadi. 0-1, and Peralta skies one to the backstop. Yikes. 3-1. and Molina lines out to third. One down.
With one away, Tyler O’Neill digs a 1-2 hole fairly fast and gets put down by a backdoor slider. Two down, Fowler up. Fowler grounds out to second on a 0-1 pitch. Time to close this one out, the writer says as he’s losing steam.
Jordan Hicks is staying in to close out the game. Let the festivities again. One pitch, one out via Jesse Winker groundball. One third of the way there.
Joey Votto up now, in an attempt to rally the Reds. 1-2 pitch, and Votto chops a single up the middle off a 101-mph sinker. Well done, sir.
Yasiel Puig now steps up. One on, one out, down four. First pitch, and Puig grounds to Wong. Wong flips to Goldschmidt, then Votto gets caught up in a run down. DeJong makes the final tag.
That’s a winner everybody!