As we continue our descent into the baseball-less void, I decided to turn back the clock and rewatch some Cardinals games of past. Below I have provided a recap of sorts with bits of my own commentary sprinkled in. Let me know if there are specific games you want me to watching going forward, but today we’ll be watching the July 30, 2015 contest between the Rockies and Cardinals.
The 2015 Cardinals, who would go on to win 100 games and the division title, were defined by outstanding run prevention but a relatively mediocre offense. This game was the complete opposite of that. It was chaotic in every sense of the word. Off the top of my head, only the Jhonny Peralta home run at Wrigley game rivals this one for the distinction of the wildest game of 2015.
Basic game details
Date: July 30, 2015 (aka trade deadline eve)
Road team: Colorado Rockies (43-56, 12.5 games back in NL West)
Home team: St. Louis Cardinals (64-37, lead NL Central by 4.5 games)
Starting pitchers: Chris Rusin vs. Carlos Martínez
Here is the Baseball Reference page for this game.
These are both the full broadcast and the MLB.com “condensed game” if you want to watch along. If not, I embedded the three-minute highlight reel from this game at the bottom of this page.
- (Fox Sports theme plays) “This is St. Louis Cardinals baseball.” Ok, can real life baseball come back yet?
- Already we’ve got nostalgia all over the place. The July when everybody obsessed over getting Martínez to the All-Star Game via the final vote, 2015 Stephen Piscotty and his wonder-run–ah, good times.
- Charlie Blackmon got a big lead, a decent jump off Martínez, but he was no match for Yadi’s throw to Kolten Wong. I’m going to miss watching #4 when he retires.
- There’s something oddly comforting to hearing Dan McLaughlin, Tim McCarver, and all their purely anecdotal baseball-isms in a Fox Sports Midwest broadcast again.
- Wong is batting third with a lefty on the mound. That is all.
- Both starters surrendered multiple hits, but both also picked up a pair of strikeouts to limit the damage.
End 1st: 1-1 tie
- We’ve got our first Brandon Moss trade graphic of the night. He was acquired last night while pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky is heading to Cleveland.
- The lone key to the game reads “‘My kingdom for a run’ -Richard III”
- Carlos Gomez has been traded...for real this time. Has it really been five seasons since the Brewers-Mets Wilmer Flores trade debacle?
- It has come to my attention that Mark Reynolds played 140 games of sub-replacement level baseball for the 2015 Cardinals.
- Matt Carpenter just belted a three-run homer! I vaguely remember him falling into an extended slump this season before breaking out of it with a huge game. I guess tonight was that game.
End 2nd: 4-1 Cardinals
- Carlos Martínez worked the first 1-2-3 inning of the evening for either side.
- In the bottom half of the inning, Jason Heyward ripped a clean single into right field. I suppose he’ll always have one of the stranger career arcs in recent Cardinals lore.
End 3rd: 4-1 Cardinals
- Martínez was a strike away from ending the inning unscathed...and now an RBI double to the 8-hole hitter followed by a pitcher home run have tied this game at four apiece. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- Things are much smoother sailing for Rusin as he sets down the Cardinals’ 7-8-9 trio in order.
End 4th: 4-4 tie
- A blooper (that probably should have been caught) drops in shallow center field for a base hit. The very next at-bat goes for an E5 on a potential double-play ball. Suffice it to say, this has been a sloppy first half of the game for the Cardinals.
- Now Corey Dickerson drives home a run with a hit and a mishandled throw into third sets up a second-and-third, one-out situation. Martínez is already at 94 pitches and now Seth Maness is up and throwing in the bullpen.
- Martínez just hit DJ LeMahieu with a 98 mph fastball to load the bases. Both teams have received a warning from the home plate umpire despite this only being the first hit batsman of the night.
- Something I don’t miss seeing: the good ole camera to pan to Mike Matheny looking on from the dugout as Martínez remains in this game.
- The broadcast just mentioned how it feels like the Cardinals are down by more than a run. Isn’t that the truth?
- Ben Paulsen grounds into an inning-ending double play on a 3-1 pitch and Martínez is amped.
- Hanging curveball, one swing, and Carpenter sends the equalizer over the right field fence. Apparently this is his first ever multi-homer game. Of course the one night the Cardinals’ offense actually provides run support they’ve given up five runs through five.
- Heyward triples home Peralta, but the former thrown out rounding third. This already has the feel of one of those tight games where you think back on a million little mistakes that could have swung the outcome the other way.
End 5th: 6-5 Cardinals
- Now Maness enters the game and Nick Hundley crushes a game-tying homer. Baseball is weird.
- Two on, two out, and Maness strikes out Nolan Arenado. Baseball is really weird.
- Piscotty doubles with two outs in the bottom half of the 6th and Matheny calls on Moss to pinch-hit in his St. Louis debut. The standing ovation, the sense that this could be a turning point for good in this game, this has all the makings of a storybook Cardinals devil magic moment.
- Moss lifts a pop-up to the left side. It looks like it’s hooking foul...now it’s going to drop fair for the lead...now Arenado runs a mile to make an incredible over-the-shoulder catch. Busch Stadium lets out a deflated sigh.
End 6th: 6-6 tie
- Steve Cishek takes the mound. Throwback to the time the Cardinals dealt Kyle Barraclough for Cishek and then Barraclough immediately proceeded to outperform the “win-now” player.
- The broadcast noted that a battle of the bullpens against the Rockies–especially in a home game–should be advantage Cardinals. Following a scoreless frame from Cishek, it finally feels like the Cardinals have the momentum for the first time in about 90 minutes. Somehow, the Cardinals have only trailed this game during a grand total of three plate appearances.
- Wong gets hit by an up-and-in fastball and now Matheny is out of the dugout wanting Christian Friedrich tossed.
- Two on, two out, and Heyward lifts a high drive out to center that...dies near the warning track.
End 7th: 6-6 tie
- The Cardinals have bridged their way to the back of the bullpen as Kevin Siegrist takes the 8th. The first at-bat of the inning ends with another floater into shallow center that drops after Randal Grichuk initially backpedaled.
- Now Blackmon bunts and Siegrist throws the ball away. Runners on the corners with nobody out. [Facepalm]
- Jose Reyes and the Rockies reclaim the lead on a sac fly. Busch is beyond restless.
- The Cardinals catch a break! Blackmon is hung up between second and third...until Siegrist fires wide on the pickoff throw. 8-6 Colorado.
- Daniel Descalso pinch hits for the Rockies and the Cardinals faithful–albeit dead inside–gives another standing ovation.
- Molina draws a leadoff walk, but any hope of a comeback in the 8th is quickly quelled as the next three batters go down. Ugh.
End 8th: 8-6 Rockies
- Carlos Villanueva allows the first two batters in the top of the 9th to reach before a popped up bunt turns into a double play. Then Wong makes a nice snag on a liner up the middle. To finally get solid defense feels beyond cruel at this point.
- Carpenter starts the frame by picking up his fourth hit of the night with a ground-rule double on the eighth pitch of the at-bat. In comes John Axford for the Rockies.
- Grichuk draws a walk. I repeat: Randal Grichuk drew a walk. Two on, nobody out.
- Wong wastes no time slapping a base hit into center. Axford has given up at least one run in every single appearance since the All-Star break. Bases loaded, still nobody out. Maybe, just maybe, the Cardinals can pull this off.
- Axford throws a curveball in the dirt that skips away from the catcher Hundley. Carpenter holds at third, but it’s abundantly clear that Axford doesn’t have anywhere near his best stuff.
- Now Peralta gets in on the act, shooting a single into center. Carpenter scores with ease and José Oquendo waves home Grichuk. The throw to the plate is on line, and even watching this game back I’m still not sure whether or not Grichuk will slide in safely. He does, and it’s 8-8. This game doesn’t feel real.
- Men at the corners, no outs. Pete Kozma pinch runs for Peralta. After he takes second on a defensive indifference, Heyward is intentionally walked to load the bases and set up a force play everywhere. Oh yeah, this is before automatic intentional walks were a thing. A Yadi chant breaks out while the count on Heyward is still 2-0.
- This first pitch to Molina, the sixth batter of the inning, is a breaking ball between Hundley’s legs, but it doesn’t roll far enough for Wong to consider scoring. Molina works a 3-0 count and Busch is ready to explode. Curiously enough, he swings on 3-0, fouls it back, and eventually flies out on a 3-2 pitch.
- This is Axford’s inning. Again he falls behind 3-0, this time to Greg Garcia. The next delivery is high. Garcia begins to head down to first as he releases his bat, but is forced to return to the plate on a called strike to the dismay of Matheny. The “FoxTrax” graphic has the pitch as a ball.
- The 3-1 pitch sails up and away outside. The baseball gods smile down on St. Louis, and a Redbird winner is in the books thanks to a walk-off walk.
Final: Cardinals 9, Rockies 8