Upon seeing today’s lineup, I was certain the outcome of today’s interleague game vs. the A’s was going to hinge on a key, high-leverage, OMG, hold-your-breath play in right. Why? Little Tommy Edman was stationed there.
Tommy’s pro career began in the Cape Cod League in 2015. At every stop prior to Memphis—including the Arizona Fall League—he played within the arc on the field. Of his 208.1 innings at Memphis, he played 14 in the grassy hinterlands, in center. In The Show, he’s played a grand total of [double-checks B-Ref page] half an inning in center. He last played right was when he was 12, when his La Jolla Bears Little League Coach Buttermaker moved him from short to right to give feisty newcomer Tanner Boyle a shot at the 6 spot. But hey, he’s been shagging balls in right during BP, so that’s good enough for a team fighting to stay in first place.
Sure, Cafecito was (rightly) DH-ing. Sure, Tyler had yet another mysterious injury (“wrist strain”), landing him on the 10-day IL. Sure, Yairo need a respite from the stress accumulated by playing out of position so much. Lane Thomas shrugged.
But it was a pre-game chat that sealed the deal today for Tommy and quite possibly generated a career-altering moment:
Oh, and Adam Wainwright took the hill, like he’s done 305 other times in his career. The Cards have won his last 5 starts, providing 8 runs per game over that stretch.
Oh, and Matt Carpenter returned from his AA/AAA rehab stint, shoving poor li’l Tommy off the leadoff perch to the 8th spot in the lineup.
Oh, and look! The A’s traded for an actual sorta decent staring pitcher at the deadline. They allowed to do that? Former National and Red Tanner Roark went for the A’s, he of the 2019 4.19 FIP; 8.8K/9.
But I was sure this one was gonna be all about Tommy in Right.
(Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t. At all.)
Cardinals pitchers issued 7 walks on the day (3 by Waino) but for the most part, they were able to wiggle out of the trouble those free passes produced. No, a more frustrating version of a gifted base came in the form of back-to-back HBPs by Waino in the third, during which both of those guys scored.
As has often been the case this season, Waino was uneven. He got 7 Ks today to escape jams, but he also got in several 3-2 counts that ballooned his pitch count to 97 by the 5th. Despite only being down 2-1 at the point, Shildt shoulda yanked him, but he left him in.
The Cards never mounted any sustained threats. But how?! They hit .333 with RISP!
Oh, God love ya. The Cards were 1 for 3 with RISP, with 8 LOB. Their runs came on a DeJong solo homer in the 4th that put them up briefly 1-0 (his 19th), and a Kolten Wong flare in the 8th (the 1 in the 1 for 3) that gave them late hope only down 3-2 at that point.
The game was always there for the taking, as the A’s offense was just as inept for the bulk of the contest, going 1-11 with RISP with 11 LOBsters. But they added a solo homer of their own in the 6th that Waino shouldn’t have pitched in, and a dagger of an insurance run in the 8th on a wild pitch. Those don’t factor in to RISP, now do they? That was enough to create a
4-2 win for the Athletics.
False Foreshadowing First - It was Flashback Sunday at the top of the lineup with Carp and Dex at 1 and 2 (with DH Martinez moved down to 7th). Four batters appeared in the first, and 3 of them hit rockets (96 mph EV or greater), but only Carp’s went where someone wasn’t standing for a single, much to the delight of Cafecito.
José Martínez is happy to have Matt Carpenter back! pic.twitter.com/B36RH4tmLO— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 4, 2019
Goldy struck out, so that combination of things left Carp stranded on first. I thought the overall good contact was a nice harbinger for the Cards. It wasn’t.
Thud of a Third - After quiet halves in the second by both teams, both teams actually had excellent scoring chances in the third; neither took advantage.
Third Baseman, Shortstop, Second Baseman, Center Fielder, Right Fielder Edman bounced out weakly to second for out 1 to start the 3rd. Andrew Knizner, embarrassed at batting 9th, channeled that anger to work a walk. Carp was caught looking at a strike-three slider that wasn’t, as the not-robot ump was fooled by framing for out 2. Fowler than got plunked on his money-counting hand, his right, but he stayed in. With first and second and 2 out, Goldy stepped in for the Cards’ first RISP thing. (But if you’re a bona-fide HR hitter, isn’t every runner a RISP, including yourself?)
But after a nifty double-steal, the Cards suddenly had 2 RISP(!) (Not counting Goldy.) With Ozuna prowling on the on-deck circle, Goldschmidt got to 3-2 then had a marathon 14-pitch AB, fouling off 5 straight (2 of which were tomahawked lasers foul to left), ultimately walking on a good no-swing on an outside pitch, loading the bases with 2 out.
Looking to send a ball through the air like he just didn’t care, Ozuna got behind 1-2 then waived goofily at a waaay outside curveball for out 3.
Dustin Garneau singled crisply under a diving-to-his-left Carp’s glove at third.
(Woulda Tommy?) Annoyingly, Semien cued one to Kolten’s left that he couldn’t get to in time, as he had been playing at DP depth, giving the A’s’ their first (and only) RISP run on the day. With first and second, nobody out, Waino sat down the next three hitters on Ks!
First in the Fourth - The Cards broke through in the fourth, but the A’s answered in their half. Paul DeJong made up for his teammates’ RISP ineptitude from the third inning by cashing in on a PISP (Pauly In Scoring Position; himself), launching his 19th homer 418 ft. to left for a
1-0 Cardinal lead!
Wong then grounded out to second after hitting a liner just foul down the third-base line. With one out, Cafectio grounded out on an easy play for the shortstop. Edman then made his presence known by harshly lining a hanging curve back up the box, buzzing the top of Roark’s cap for a 2-out single.
Young Knizner then followed with a single up the middle as well, keeping the 2-out train moving and turning over the lineup. Carp couldn’t cash in, however, as he swung through a well-placed up and in fastball for the third out.
Waino got the DH Davis to pop up to Goldy halfway up the line for out 1. Then on a inside cutter, Waino grazed HBP specialist Mark Canha (his 10th this year), who turned his armor-plated left arm into it to “earn” first base. Piscotty stepped in and feeling bad for getting a hit last time off Waino, got down 0-2. But those feelings quickly evaporated, as a fastball got away from him, hitting Piscotty on the left hand dangerously up and in.
With first and second 1 out, Profar bounced one to Goldy, who turned to start the DP, but he couldn’t get it out of his glove cleanly, having to settle for tossing to a covering Waino at first for the second out. With second and third, 2 outs, Wainwright grooved a sinker that didn’t to Dustin Garneau, who crushed it loudly to left center past Dexter for a double, scoring both runners, making it 2-1 A’s. Thankfully, Semien couldn’t get a 2-out hit, grounding out to Carp at third.
Full Count Fifth - The Cards went down in order, but by this time, the inefficient Tanner Roark was at 109 pitches. Likewise, Waino’s pitch count ballooned to 94 on more 3-2 counts and 2 walks.
Shildt(!) Sixth - The teams’ managers differed here, as the A’s pulled Roark, but Shildt left Waino in, leading to unsurprisingly different results. The Cards went down in order again, with DeJong, Kolten, and Martinez making no noise.
Waino came back out for the 6th, because....the A’s 7th-9th place hitters were due up? Sure. Well, that worked fine for a bit, as Piscotty grounded out to short to lead off. Not fine was that the 8th-place hitter Profar sent a moon-shot 41-degree LA homer into right to bump the A’s lead to 3-1.
That was the end for Waino’s day, as Brebbia replaced him. He worked around a 2-out double to prevent further damage.
Magic Eight Ball 8th: You Can Hope! - After only 1 runner reached in the 7th for the Cards via an error that produced nothing, they closed the gap to 3-2 in the eighth, for some late-game life. After Goldy flew out to short right on the first pitch, Ozuna worked a walk. The personification of the only offense of the day, Pauly D stepped in and whiffed on a down-and-away slider for strike 3. With 2 outs and lefty hitter Wong up, the A’s brought in a lefty thrower, Jake “Call Me Diek, Not The Snake” Diekman.
With Wong up, a wild pitch allowed Marcell to advance to second. Much improved this season vs. LH pitching (.807 OPS), Kolten got just enough of an inside fastball, flopping a well-placed flare to short left for a base hit, scoring a scampering Ozuna!
That made it 3-2 A’s!
That was all for The Snake, as the A’s brought in righty Joakim Soria to face Cafecito, representing the go-ahead run. Martinez got wood on a down and in curveball, golfing it to center, but it died short of the track for the third out.
John Gant entered for the Cards and promptly got Profar to bounce to Kolten on the second pitch for the first out. Then things ground slowly along. Dustin Garneau then worked a full count (of course!) walk (of course!). He again went 3-2 on the next hitter Semien, walking him as well. With first and second, 1 out and lefty hitter Grossman up, Gant went to 3-0 but got a slow grounder to Goldy, who got the out unassisted, with the runners advancing.
Then,...with 2 outs, runners on second and third, Gant uncorked a wild pitch, scoring the runner from third easily, making Cards’ nation collectively sink their chins to their chest.
4-2 A’s. It felt like 10-2. Chapman mercifully couldn’t tack on, grounding to Pauly D.
The Nothing Ninth - Thanks to giving the A’s yet another gift in the 8th, the Cards attempted to make up a 2-run deficit, not 1. The A’s Australian righty closer Liam Hendricks kangarooed to the mound, getting both Edman and Knizner to strike out swinging on identical pitches in the dirt, and Carp ended things with a flyout to deepish left a few steps in front of the track.
Cards lose 4-2.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- This was another example of a Waino line that would’ve looked good if he had gone 7
(he went 5.1): 6 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 7Ks
- Only 59 of Waino’s 99 pitches were strikes
- No spark from Newcomers: Ozuna 0-3, 1 BB, 4 LOB; Carp 1-5, 2K, 4 LOB
- Cubs beat Brewers: Cards slip to 1.5 games back.
- A’s Sweep Season Series: 4-Love.
- Cards Stay on Left Coast: Start 3-game series with Dodgers (gulp) tomorrow at 9:10 CT.
- Tommy Edman (RF) Fielding Game Log:
Bot 1 - No Plays. Counted daisies in right.
Bot 2 - Fielded an easy ground-ball single without incident.
Bot 3 - Cheered for Waino’s big strikeouts!
Bot 4 - Swore under his breath at 2 HBPs scoring.
Bot 5 - Disappointed nothing was hit to him. (Not really).
Bot 6 - Watched a solo home run sail by.
Bot 7 - Caught a hard liner hit right at him! (Barely had to move.) Still!
Bot 8 - Tried keeping head in the game with all the walks.
Bot 9 - Showered.