The Cards sent 24-year-old Dakota Hudson to the bump who at times this season has shown flashes of a topp-ish rotation guy. His 3.51 ERA is the lowest of the rotation members with double-digit starts (nice try, Ponce), with the next-lowest being Waino’s 4.33. (Oof.) But, ah, Dakota’s 4.99 FIP reveals some smoke and mirrors from good defense stopping all those ground balls (his 60.3% rate topping the league), but his FlyBall/HR Ratio also tops the league at .371.
The Snakes countered with 30-year-old rookie righty Merrill Kelly, who bloomed late as a pitcher, because he took a few years off to focus on the trombone. Don’t know if that’s true, but neither do you. I do know he’s a fly-ball specialist with the second-highest
Fly Ball % (38%).
The game was delayed a bit after a small fire broke out in the Cards’ clubhouse from the 57 candles atop Yadi’s birthday cake. Happy Birthday, old man!
The 6:15 CT start brought a high sky and weird shadows. Prayers were said for Martinez in RF.
Top of the 1st
Dyson started things off with a grounder snagged by Carpenter playing way off the line. Out 1 was brought to you by good/lucky field positioning. Dakota fell behind 2-0 to Marte then grooved a fastball that became a line drive to right, thankfully only for a single. Wong then couldn’t backhand a hard grounder and could only get the out at second. But Hudson did what Hudson do, and got Christian Walker to ground out harmlessly to third for an 11-pitch inning. That’s good!
Bottom of the 1st
Carpenter was back at leadoff tonight, because, why not? He quickly fell behind 0-2, then waived and missed a change-up that drifted well outside the zone for the first out. After Martinez worked a walk, Pauly D. bounced a slow-enough grounder to deep short that the D-Backs could only turn into a force-out at second. Sporting new gold-plated glasses,
Pauly G. chopped an easy grounder that the third baseman backed up on and muffed for an error. (I’ll leave it to you to determine which part of that sentence is not true.)
With 2 out and dudes on first and second, Tyler O’Neill came through by muscling (duh) an inside fastball just fair down the left-field line, getting just enough of it to score both Paulies! TON made it 2-0 Good Guys and reached second on the late throw home.
Keeping things going, Dex drew a walk, forcing a mound meeting already by the D-Backs. Of course, that meeting was because Wieters was lumbering to the plate, fresh off last-night’s homer and almost-homer. Swinging on 3-0, Wieters popped one up behind the plate that Catcher Kelly didn’t see. Pitcher Kelly valiantly attempted to scurry toward the brick backstop to catch it, but was too late. Don’t see that every day. Then, Pitcher Kelly (okay, this is ridiculous) walked Wieters, proving he was on his phone during the mound meeting. Bases juiced, yo!
Cards got more foul-ball luck when Wong popped one behind third that just reached the stands. Unfortunately, he swung at a curve in the dirt for strike three, killing the 2-out rally.
But hey, 2-0 Cards! Surely they tack on lots more throughout the game! Let’s find out!
Top of the 2nd
Of course, after getting an early lead, Dakota s
hut down the Snakes in order couldn’t find the plate. After plunking leadoff man Adam Jones with a 93-mph sinker to the hip (guess that one didn’t sink), Dakota showed folks another other way to allow a hitter to get on without a hit by walking Lamb, prompting an early mound visit by the Cards, evening the Mound Visit Score with the D-Backs.
Next hitter Ahmed then singled to center scoring Jones from second, making it 2-1. The throw home wasn’t cut off (insert lesson to Little Leaguers here) allowing Ahmed to advance to second. So no more double play in order, and runners on second and third, no outs. Hudson continued his wildness, walking Carson Kelly, re-loading the bases. Dacha started warming in the ‘pen already. (Oh, dear.) Maybe it’s the camera angle, but it looked like Hudson’s left side was flying open early, causing the not-strike problems. I’m sure someone told him.
Now throwing more breaking balls, Dakota got his counterpart Merrill Kelly next on a dribbler to Carp, who tossed it home for an easy, merciful, first out. Remembering how to pitch, Hudson struck out leadoff man Dyson with a nice curve. Marte then flied out to Martinez in right who used his freakish height to block out the sun with his glove and grab out three.
Bottom of the 2nd
After the long top-half of the inning, Hudson lead off the bottom of the second, because the GOBs are funny. He grounded out to second. Carpenter then repeated his first at-bat by striking out again. He obviously can’t hit leadoff. Martinez then grounded sharply to short, as the Cards went down in order.
Top of the 3rd
With a pitch count already ballooning and Wacha eager to show he can still pitch, Hudson buckled down, setting the D-Backs down in order via backward K, groundout, and forward K. But the last strikeout took 7 pitches, so Dakota’s pitch total sat at 49.
Bottom of the 3rd
The D-Backs gifted the Cards another runner, as DeJong reached on an error by the pitcher. Goldschmidt continued his vision-impaired non-hitting by flying out to left on a hanging curve. Thank goodness for today’s youth, as O’Neill stepped up next and flexed a high-outside cutter to right field for a 2-run homer! Meat Pillar 4, Snakes 1!!!
Home Run, eh? pic.twitter.com/vU0Ovj3Wv5— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) July 14, 2019
After Dex went down swinging for the second out, Wieters merely (deftly?) dropped the head of his bat and hit an opposite-field single to left to keep things alive. Showing Wieters how the short guys do it, Kolten yanked a high-outside changeup to right for a clean single.
MLB didn’t implement the DH during the game, so Hudson hit for himself and bounced out to second to end the inning. Nice to see the Cards offense continuing, though!
Top of the 4th
Hudson made quick work of Jake Lamb leading off by striking him out on a nice curve. Nick Ahmed reminded folks about Dakota’s bread and butter by bouncing a sinker to third for out 2. Up next, Carson Kelly walked for the second time tonight, though ball 4 coulda/shoulda been called for a strike, as it nipped the bottom of the zone. Anyway, looked like their previous history together favored Carson on this night so far. No harm done, as the other Kelly struck out looking on a hook that initially looked to be low but was plucked nicely back into the zone by Wieters. Cheating? Guess not!
Bottom of the 4th
It’s a nice sign that your leadoff man is up for the third time in the 4th. Unfortunately, Carpenter continued his rough night by striking out a third time, for the hat trick. Blues fans flashed back to fonder associations with the term. Martinez then grounded weakly to short on the first pitch, and DeJong followed by lifting a fly ball to medium right for the third out.
The Cards had a chance to knock the D-Backs starter out of the game with another good inning; instead, he lived to fight another inning, sitting at 84 pitches.
Top of the 5th
Hudson began the 5th like he did the 4th, striking out the leadoff hitter. He was fortunate, though, with the next hitter Marte, who lined one at 100 mph right at Pauly D for the second out. Unfortunately, Hudson threw a fat fastball to the dangerous Eduardo “Pablo” Escobar that he meant to throw in but that veered over the heart of the plate. Escobar crushed it to right for a homer, cutting the Cards’ lead in half to 4-2. Hudson recovered to get Christian Walker to ground out to third on the next pitch.
Bottom of the 5th
Goldy lead things off by actually hitting one hard (105 mph), but it was right at the shortstop for out 1. Next, the D-backs finally solved O’Niell, getting him to ground out to third. Dexter then drove a hard ground-ball single through the shift, deflecting off the glove of the diving second baseman into right. But Wieters made the third out by grounding out to second. So many grounders everywhere.
Top of the 6th
Now entering “Quality Start” territory, Hudson got Adam Jones to fly out Martinez in right that he caught with a little hop at the end. Sure, why not? We have confidence in you. Jake Lamb then scorched a line drive toward your favorite right fielder for out 2. After walking Ahmed on a slider that looked good enough to me, Hudson got Carson Kelly to hit a dribbler down third that Carp just got enough on to nail Kelly at first. Is Kelly fast for a catcher? No idea.
Bottom of the 6th
Lefty T.J. McFarland came on in relief for the D-Backs. Trying to trick the “new guy,” Kolten greeted him with a bunt attempt on pitch 1. It bounced too far and too directly toward the pitcher, who threw Kolten out. Wong re-thought his decision during his right-turn to the dugout.
Hudson’s night was done, signaled by Shildt’s Pet Yairo Munoz pinch-hitting for him. He promptly walked, bringing up Carpenter, who first watched Yairo get caught stealing by the pitcher pickoff style, then banged a line-drive single over the shift into right for his first non-strikeout event of the evening. (Thanks, Yairo.)
That was enough to knock McFarland to the showers, giving righty Archie Bradley a shot at Martinez, who smacked pitch 1 hard and on a line, but right at the left fielder to end the inning.
Top of the 7th
Munoz remained in the game in right, because you’ve been told he can play anywhere. Giovanny Gallegos toed the rubber to face pinch-hitter Kevin Cron, whom he promptly stuck out on three pitches. So sexy.
Gio knew how much you liked that, so he struck out another dude just for you, whiffing Dyson on a tight curve. But then you smothered him with your expectations, causing him to give up a line-drive to Ketel Marte in the left-center field gap for a double on an 0-2 pitch. Can’t you just let him breathe?
Gio appreciated the space you now gave him, getting a ground ball from Escobar, but he needed help from a diving Goldy, who got dirty diving to his right to snag it and flip to Gallegos covering for the third out. Goldy can apparently see ground balls well enough.
Bottom of the 7th
D-Backs Faceless Reliever #3 came in to start the 7th (okay, righty Matt Andriese). Throwing to the first of the back-to-back Paulies, he got DeJong to ground out to short. Pauly #2, however, reached on the rare catcher’s interference called on Carson Kelly for the D-Backs third error of the night. (The trade worked.)
Snake-Killer O’Neill came up next looking to further prove worthy of his new nickname. Alas, he couldn’t replicate the result of his earlier swing on an up-and-away pitch, this time striking out. Maybe next time, Meat Pillar. Dex then floated a fly ball to left for the third out.
Top of the 8th
Gallegos came back out for the 8th. He escaped danger against the dangerous Christian Walker, who forced Dex’s back against the wall in center, but he grabbed it actually quite easily, not having to jump or nuthin’ for the first out. Adam Jones next grounded out to short on a slider for out 2. (Can Gallegos start perhaps? He has multiple pitches, ya know.) Prob unnecessarily, Shildt came out to switch Gio with (one of) last night’s homer-giving-up-pitchers, Andrew Miller,...to face Jake Lamb,...who hit the homer off of...Miller last night. Gotta get him back on the horse, though, right?
Miller promptly walked Lamb on three pitches (the third one actually was a strike) to bring the tying run to the plate. So Shildt promptly walked to the mound to pull his LOWGY (Left-handed, One-Walk Guy), bringing in El Gallo. In a double-switch, Bader replaced Fowler in center, who moved to right. Yairo went to left, replacing TON. Sure.
Thankfully, Carlos took care of Nick Ahmed, making him look silly chasing a slider wide of the zone.
Bottom of the 8th
Starting things off was Wieters, the Cards’ new Bat Control King. Hitting left, he again poked a single to left through a vacated left-side of the infield. Works for me. Upset that Big-Man Wieters was usurping small ball, Wong sacrifice-bunted Wieters to second. Munoz bounced to short, with Wieters holding at 2nd, now with 2 outs. Carpenter then stepped in and ended the inning by donning the Golden Sombrero after striking out for the 4th time. Ouch.
Top of the 9th
El Gallo remained in the game to close it out. He looked sharp striking out Carson Kelly on another slider for the first out. Continuing the theme, he K’d Domingo Leyba on 98-mph high heat that foul-tipped into Wieter’s mitt. Proving he can be Democratic, El Gallo allowed Dyson to make contact in fair territory, grounding out to Goldschmidt, who tossed to El Gallo covering first for the game-ender.
Cards win, 4-2!
Bottom of the 9th
Not applicable, yo!
THE BOTTOM LINE:
- Dakota threw just North of okay, keeping things from going South - After some early shakiness, Hudson settled just enough to pitch a “Quality Start,” going 6 innings, giving up 3 hits and 2 runs, but continuing his bugaboos of homers (1 tonight) and walks (4)
- Thanks, Snakes - The D-Backs D-Fense was porous tonight, making 3 errors. Two occurred before Tyler’s run-producing hits.
- Tyler, Our Hero - This game coulda (woulda?) been another frustrating loss if not for Tyler O’Neill. TON was your everything, producing all 4 runs on a 2-run double and 2-run dinger. - Even More Special-er - Danny Mac reported that during a pre-game meeting with a young boy visiting Cards players through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Super Ty told the lad he’d try to hit a homer for him. Done, and done, yo!
An amazing moment. O'Neill signs his home run ball and gives it to one of his biggest fans, Preston Dobbs from @MakeAWishMOKAN. @Cardinals|#STLCards|#TimeToFly pic.twitter.com/5qw83RCwAY— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) July 14, 2019