We are dealing with a small sample size, but a small sample size combined with previous MLB and MiLB stats combined with projections tell us that Dakota Hudson beginning the season in the starting rotation was a bad idea. The Cardinals gambled that the young, inexperienced righty could replace any potential setbacks in the rotation, and it was clear he was needed almost immediately into Spring Training. 19 strikeouts to 18 walks last year in the bullpen certainly did not suggest a starting rotation caliber player right now and the results so far agree with that assessment.
The Cardinals experienced what can only be described as a Miller Park game, because all five games played there this year have been basically the same: a back-and-forth game where Christian Yelich homers where every conceivable break goes the Brewers way and the Cardinals end up losing in a frustrating way. Can I complain that the Cards will play SEVEN games there before they even play the Brewers at home? That’s an annoying scheduling quirk.
The Cardinals lost by three runs and you might be wondering how exactly a game the Cardinals lost 10-7 suggests a missed opportunity by the Cards. Let’s reflect on the missed opportunities. For starters, in the 2nd inning, Matt Carpenter hit a deep fly ball to right center field that Lorenzo Cain robbed for a home run. The score was 2-0 and would have been 4-0 and as you can see, that would have made a difference.
There was also the matter that the home plate umpire, St. Louis native Ron Kulpa, was anything but biased for the hometown team. He was awful, in a word. Whether due to Hudson’s lack of control - though the Brewers pitchers showed a similar lack of control - or just because he’s very bad at his job, Hudson seemed to get squeezed all night. He pitched badly - no doubt about it. But he was not helped in the slightest by Kulpa.
And then there’s the worst call of the night: With runners on 1st and 2nd and one out, Goldschmidt was up to bat. It was 6-3 Brewers at this point, and I’ll explain how exactly the Brewers got six runs in a minute, but Goldschmidt was facing Matt Albers and received a two strike pitch inside that forced him to take a check swing. The ump did not say that he swung, but rather that the ball hit Goldschmidt’s bat and that he struck out on a foul tip. Except, well, see the evidence for yourself.
The Cardinals scored their first two runs on back-to-back home runs by Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong so yeah taking away Goldschmidt’s bat was kind of important. He later singled home the fifth run of the game to make the game 6-5. I’m not saying we win with these calls, it’s just frustrating as hell that there’s a “What if?” to the game that is completely unnecessary if the ump wasn’t terrible.
After the Cards scored two, the Brewers exploded on Hudson in the 2nd. Hudson looked good in the 1st, but he very much did not look good in the 2nd. It was control that was the issue, but not in the way you think. He got himself into two-strike counts to the first four batters, but couldn’t control the pitch that was supposed to put the hitter away. Instead of a pitch that was hard to hit, Hudson threw a breaking ball that barely broke that caught too much of the strike zone. Mike Moustakas homered, Eric Thames lined a single, and Ben Gamel hit a hard hit grounder up the middle to put runners at 1st and 2nd. He gave up a hit to the opposing pitcher for the 2nd run, and a single to Lorenzo Cain to set the stage for a three-run home run from Christian Yelich. 6-2 Brewers just like that.
The Cardinals added a run in the next half inning when Yadier Molina doubled home Goldschmidt and DeJong, who both walked to lead off the inning. Drew Robinson came into the game for Tyler O’Neill, who came out of the game due to an errant throw - it was so off target I’m going to post a gif below - and struck out with men on 2nd and 3rd with one out. Dexter Fowler grounded out to end the inning. Hudson walked two men in the 3rd, but got out of the inning with a bases loaded double play ball. In the 4th, he left the game with runners on 1st and 3rd, with two outs, and was bailed out by Tyler Webb.
The Cardinals came back in the 6th. Alex Claudio came in for the Brewers and pitched poorly. He allowed an infield single and walked both Jedd Gyorko and Carpenter to load the bases. Javy Guerra came in and immediately threw a wild pitch that hit home plate umpire Kulpa in the face - he came out of the game for his injury. After a length delay, Goldschmidt hit home the 5th run. A single by Ozuna tied the game at 6.
In the 6th, Mike Mayers allowed a single and a walk before allowing a three-run homer to Yelich again. Yep. He hit another homer off John Brebbia in the 8th. So that’s three homer day for him and 8 in 5 games for Yelich against the Cards. Cool cool cool. Mayers came out of the game due to an undisclosed injury for Dominic Leone. The bullpen ended up pitching an annoying amount in the loss - Brebbia is probably not available tomorrow for instance.
Marcell Ozuna hit a 9th inning home run off Josh Hader to make it 10-7 and that was that. Frustrating loss to the Brewers, as apparently all losses to the Brewers are destined to be. What a dumb game.
Tomorrow, we do this all over again for some reason and we need to get out of this stupid goddamn park already. Jack Flaherty against Brandon Woodruff.