X-rays and CT scans of Yadier Molina’s left (non-throwing) hand/wrist came back negative (duh). Manager Mike Shildt scrolled his name in the lineup, batting 9th to limit his appearances beside the plate while still putting him behind it.
The medical report was leaked on CatchFancy, an online fanzine for those who love those who wear the tools of ignorance:
The Yadinator is a batterymate unit, part man, part machine. Underneath, he’s a hyperalloy combat chassis, microprocessor-controlled, fully armored, very tough. But outside, he’s living human tissue: flesh, skin, tattoos, (blonde) hair, blood—grown for the pitchers.
His endoskeleton is actuated by a powerful network of hydraulic servomechanisms, making the Yadinator superhumanly strong.
Yeah, basically, he’s fine.
Other Pre-Game News
No Shildt (for Game 2): Shildt received a one-game suspension (to be served in the nightcap) and an undisclosed fine for his part in the the benches-clearing incident that sent the Yadinator to the doctor.
The Wong Side of Second: Kolten Wong remained (ahem) sidelined with discomfort in his left side, so Tommy Boy manned the keystone. That put Matt Carpenter at 3B, and...
Justin Case: Intriguing but unproven power lefty bat Justin Williams was making his MLB debut, playing RF and batting 7th as the 29th Man for the doubleheader.
Who You Gonna Call? First pitcher to throw after the Cards’ extended quarantine from baseball? Waino.
First pitcher to throw after Yadi dyed his hair blonde again? Waino.
First pitcher to throw after an 18-3 shellacking in which the Cards got their butts kicked, their catcher got his hand batted, and their manager got his keester tossed? Waino.
The Bird’s-Eye View
The starting pitchers started the game very differently, with Woodruff looking unhittable and Waino looking mashable in the first. Despite both hurlers going the distance, their paths getting there were different.
Power righty Brad Woodruff was mowing down Birdos right out of the gate, using good commanded of 98 mph heat to make the Cards’ hitters look feeble. Of his first 12 pitches, 10 were four-seamers (with 2 sinkers). Somewhere, Lance Lynn wondered if he had a long-lost brother.
But after Woodruff struck out the first 5 hitters he faced, Tyler O’Neill decided he’d seen enough, and turned around 98 mph heat for a deep homer to create runs the way GOB intended, cutting the 2-0 lead in half to make it 2-1 in the 2nd.
Waino, conversely was giving up hard contact in the first, as the Brewers were teeing off on cutters and sinkers under 90 mph. A one-out single to Yelich was followed by a big fly by Keston Hiura, which jarringly put the Cards into a 2-0 hole.
But we’ve seen this story before from Waino: getting down early, often due to homers, then shutting down the opposition. The oldest player in the NL did just that, keeping the Brewers off the board, giving up just three more hits the rest of the way and a mere lone walk (his only one of the game). In fact, the Brewers got just one runner in scoring position the entire game (the first inning homer came with a runner on first), and that didn’t come until the 5th after that walk was followed by a single to put a man on second.
And Adam’s success wasn’t due to much luck. He gave up 7 instances of hard contact (over 95 mph EV), and just 3 of those produced outs.
After Tyler’s solo shot in the second, the Cards tacked on a run at a time, scoring single tallies in the 4th, 5th, and 6th, all in different ways. In the fourth, Tyler O’Neill came through again, executing situational hitting, getting a deep fly to score Goldy on a sac fly to tie the game at 2.
Bader used his speed tool twice in the 5th to manufacture one. He led off by hustling on a slow grounder to third to force a bad throw, advancing to second. Then he went to third on a grounder to third before Tommy doubled him home to give them the lead 3-2.
Finally, Brad Miller bookended the Cards’ scoring on the day by launching a deep solo homer to center for the State Farm Insurance Run™ to make it 4-2. Man, I love symmetry.
Waino didn’t even need it, though, as he set the Brewers down in order to take game 1.
The Flight Path
Top of 1st - Woodruff was not messing’ around.
Tommy Edman wasted no time, knocking a comebacker right back to the pitcher for out 1 in like, the quickest way you can get an out. Woodruff then dispatched Paul DeJong with a 98 mph 4-seamer up and in that the shortstop couldn’t lay off of nor catch up to for out 2.
The other Pauly, the Goldschmidt variety, went to a full count but watched a 97 mph fastball nip the bottom of the zone for a called strike three.
Bottom of 1st (In Play, Run(s) - A mistake 0-2 pitch cost Waino and the Cards.
Like Tommy in the previous inning, Avisail Garcia led off by chopping a grounder to the pitcher. Waino lunged up and to his left, deflecting it not far behind the mound. Tommy charged from second to bare-hand it and fire to first. Goldy had to stretch high, with his toe just on the base. The ump initially called safe, but the replay challenge proved him wrong.
Waino got behind Yelich 3-1 then broke off a nice curve Christian ignored to get a full count. Waino couldn’t sneak a high fastball by him, however (at just 89 mph), and the lefty banged it the opposite way through the shortstop area into left-center for a single.
Next batter Keston Hiura got that same 89 mph pitch, but it was a mistake 0-2 pitch not enough down and not nearly enough in, and he dropped the barrel, golfing it over the wall in left-center for a 2-0 Brewer lead.
Waino immediately ditched the four-seamer that didn’t start with a 9, pitching backwards to lefty Daniel Vogelbach, throwing 71 mph hooks on the first two pitches to get ahead 0-2. Adam found one more mph on the fastball to pump a 90 mph one that went for a called strike 3 over and in the bottom-third of the zone for out 2.
Adam repeated the strikeout method for producing outs, getting Jedd Gyorko to swing through a 1-2 sinker, with all pitches nestled in the up-and-away corner to end the inning.
Top of 2nd - Birdos got on the Board-O with a Bomb-O!
Brad Miller struck out Uber-efficiently, swinging at 3 pitches, fouling the first and missing the second and third. Matt Carpenter followed by bouncing a slow grounder to Hiura at second. His throw pulled Gyorko off of first up the line, but he was able to tag Matt out anyway for the second out.
Looking like another quick, snoozer of inning, Canadian Strongman Tyler O’Neill said forget that, as he ka-boomed an up and out-over-the-plate 98 mph heater way into the upper deck (107 mph EV; 407 ft) in right center to halve the lead to 2-1!
This one was long gone! pic.twitter.com/MwWeAeQ13U— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 16, 2020
To keep the excitement going, Justin Williams controlled the butterflies in his stomach and pulled the first pitch he saw into the hole between first and second to notch his first MLB hit!
Harrison Bader then stepped in, noticeably chocking up on the bat. Good process, bad result, as despite getting in the hole 0-2, he hammered a 95 mph heater right back up the middle. But as (bad) luck would have it, the ball ricocheted off the pitcher’s cleat and caromed directly to Gyorko at first, who already was right at the bag for the easy final out.
Bottom of 2nd - Three up, three down. Cool. Cool, Cool, Cool.
Lefty Gen Gamel stepped in to lead off the inning and waved over a pretty 1-2 curve down and away. Jace Peterson then popped out to DeJong at short on a 2-0 cutter that was up but away enough to produce the out. Waino took care of Orlando Arcia, getting him to chase Uncle Charlie in the dirt on 1-2 to end the inning.
Top of 3rd - The Yadinator led off with a single, but the sequels did nothing.
Yadi stepped in, and I coulda sworn I heard “boos” in the pumped-in crowd noise. Wearing extra protective gear on his left hand but not showing any visible issues swinging (but he wouldn’t give the Brewers the satisfaction anyway, right?), he banged a sharp single (98 mph EV) through the hole into left for a single. The camera briefly caught him and Jedd exchanging pleasantries at first.
Edman, however then grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to produce 2 quick outs. That’s how that works. DeJong ended the harmless inning by popping out to short right, actually caught by the third baseman, who had been shifted at deep second/shallow right, racing in front of the actual right fielder to catch it, narrowly avoiding a collision.
Bottom of 3rd - Yelich almost got one, but Tyler denied him.
Ninth-place hitter Omar Narvaez became out 1, topping a 74 mph curve slowly to Edman, who charged, gloved it, and got his man for out 1. Turning the lineup over, the Brewers’ Garcia shot a hot line-drive into right-center for a single off an 88 mph sinker that wasn’t in enough.
Yelich then nearly produced the Brewers second 2-run homer of the day, but Tyler made a nice back-pedaling catch, banging against the wall to turn it into a long out! He fired a one-hop throw to second, as Garcia went back to first.
Looking for redemption against home-run hitter Hiura, Waino first got behind 3-1 with not-strikes down and away. But on a full count, Adam zipped a 90 mph sinker down and away but in the zone for a forward-K strike out.
Top of 4th (In Play, Run(s)) - Meat Pillar came through again with a productive out!
Goldy got things started by going down to get a 95 mph sinker down and in, raking it into left for a single. Miller then got a break, lofting a 0-2 pop fly that blooped to left, slicing away from Yelich, who couldn’t get to it, as it fell fair, bounced foul, allowing Miller to scamper to second and Goldy, who read it perfectly, chugged to third.
Carpenter now had a meaty 2 RISP chance to do something good. He immediately got down 0-2 on a cruel change-up followed by a 97 mph fastball. But the Galveston Grinder battled to get the count full. On pitch 7, he got fooled on an 83 mph change that was up but far enough outside, and his timing was off enough, that all he could do was loft a shallow fly to right for an out, not nearly deep enough for a sac fly.
Now with one out, Tyler looked to pick up his teammate. And he did—inside-outing a 96 mph down-and-in sinker deep to right toward the corner, easily scoring Goldy and also advancing Miller to 3rd to tie the game 2-2!
Justin Williams, now with his first hit in The Show out of the way already, looked confident, but struck out on three pitches: 2 called-strike sinkers and an elevated 97 fastball he whiffed on, but it likely woulda (shoulda) been a called strike 3 otherwise.
Bottom of 4th - The 4-5-6 hitters were retired 1-2-3.
Facing the cleanup DH Vogelbach first, Waino struck him out for the second time today, sneaking a 90 mph sinker that dotted the inside corner to catch him looking for out 1. Jedd then got good wood on an 0-1 curve the stayed up a bit, but fortunately, he got on top of the ball, pulling it to Carpenter, who gloved it cleanly and got the out. Waino then jammed Ben Gamel with a “sinker” zipped perfectly into the up-and-in notch of the zone, producing a weak grounder to Carpenter’s left, transformed into the third out.
Top of 5th (In Play, Run(s)) - Speed don’t slump!!!
Bader lunged at a sinker, grounding it to third. But it was hit slowly enough that third baseman Peterson rushed an off-balance throw, with went wide of first, rolling out of play, with Bader granted second, reaching on the error.
Looking to hit the ball the other way, instead, Yadi pulled an inside sinker to third. Peterson looked back Bader then threw out Yadi at first. But Bader totally broke on the throw! Gyorko bobbled the ball after catching it for the out, unable to make a throw.
Then on an 0-2 count to Tommy, Woodruff left a 95 sinker out over the plate, and Edman smacked it the other way on a line into the corner, doubling home Bader to take a 3-2 lead!
Looking to push the issue, Edman took off for third before Woodruff started his motion. The pitcher stepped off and flung it to Peterson, who caught it on the run, immediately dropping to the dirt with a no-look tag of Tommy in a bang-bang play for out 2.
DeJong couldn’t re-start a rally, as swinging on 3-0, he grounded out to third on a 95 mph fastball over but too low to swing at on 3-0.
Bottom of 5th - Adam gave up his first walk, and a single made the runner the tying run. But Uncle Charlie took care of it.
Alternating curves and cutters to Jace Peterson, Waino got ahead 1-2 then got a backward K with a four-seamer that kissed the low outside corner, perfectly placed for out 1. Arcia obligingly grounded on a soft one-hopper to Waino on a first-pitch curve for a quick second out.
On a 2-2 pitch to Narvaez, Waino didn’t get a call, the ump declaring a sinker just outside (it was). Then Adam lost him on a 3-2 curve that dipped in the dirt and was ignored by the batter for a walk.
After going 2-1 to next batter Garcia, Yadi visited his hurler on the hill for a chat. On the next pitch, a good curve, Garcia got just enough of it, and put it in just the right spot, grounding it barely beyond the reach of a diving DeJong, the ball rolling just under his backhanded dive and into left field to make it first and second for Yelich.
With the tying run now on second, Adam relied on old reliable, getting Christian to top a curveball, grounding out easily to Edman at second for the big, final out.
Top of 6th (In Play, Run(s)) - Miller time, yo!!!
Goldschmidt started the inning by grounding out to short on an 0-1 change-up for a quick out 1. Woodruff tried that same pitch to start the next at-bat against Miller, but he left it up and just slightly away, and Miler didn’t miss it, scorching a high, deep homer (105 mph EV, 421 ft, 28 deg LA) to dead center to tack on a run to make it 4-2!
Working a full count as is his wont, Carpenter sent a deep fly ball just shy of the track in left, but Yelich trotted to his left and settled under it for out 2. Tyler followed by swinging for some reason at a first-pitch curve, as he apparently got fooled, grounding out to short to end the inning.
Bottom of 6th - Adam set down the 3-4-5 hitters in order for a quiet inning from big Brewer hitters.
Hiura jammed himself by mis-timing a swing on an 88 mph up-and-in sinker, flaring a low pop-out to Goldy, who gloved it as he trotted toward the mound. Waino then produced an audible F-bomb out of the potty mouth of next batter Vogelbach, who got a mistake up and in 3-1 curve, but mis-timed it, grounding it right to DeJong, who had been positioned perfectly on the right-side of second. Gyorko then sent a medium fly ball directly into center, a mere can ‘o corn, which nestled easily into Bader’s glove for the final out.
Top of 7th - A quiet, 1-2-3 inning from the bottom of the order.
Williams, anxious for the game actually to be over, so he can call his family and friends about his first hit, swung at pitch one, grounding it weakly to second. Hiura’s throw pulled Gyorko off the base, but he was able to tag Justin for the out. Bader worked his at-bat to a full count, but swung and missed a 97 mph fastball that zipped just wide, and he was just a bit slow, whiffing on it for strike 3.
Molina then ended the inning by grounding to short on pitch 2.
Bottom of 7th - Wile E. Waino would not be denied.
Waino got Gamel to ground out to Tommy on a 1-0 sinker, for that big first out. The 39-year-old then totally schooled next hitter Peterson on a sharp, biting curve on 1-2, getting him to swing over it for the second out.
Arcia then became the Brewers’ last chance. Using four different pitches—every pitch in his arsenal except his rarely used change-up—Adam turned around a 2-1 count, to strike out Arcia with sinker, fastball, curveball to punctuate his “complete” game win!
Cards won 4-2!!!
Don’t hug him too hard, Yadinator!
The Bottom Line
- Bueno: 7 IP, 2 ER on 4 H (1 HR), with 9 SO, 1 BB
102 P (68 S)
- The homer Adam gave up in the first was the 5th he’s allowed in the first or second inning this season.
But he’s given up just 2 after the second.
- Waino now has lasted at least 6 innings in all but 1 of his 8 starts
- Adam finished strong, setting down 7 in a row to end the game.
- Yadi didn’t seem any worse for wear with the banged-up left hand, even getting a single.
- Miller and O’Neill were the stars on offense, each with a dinger (Tyler’s apparently with Dex’s bat!) with Miller going 2-3 with a run and an RBI and Tyler going 1-2 with a run and 2 RBI.
- The Cards did not utilize their bases-loaded strategy, not having a single instance of it.
- The Cards were 1-4 with RISP; the Brew Crew was 0-1.
- Your WPA leaders: Adam (.342); Miller (.244)
- The win pushed the Brewers 2 games behind El Birdos.
- Pointing in the right direction: