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Cards’ Bats Stay Hot, Waino and Bullpen Struggle in Saturday Loss to Reds

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The Cards’ bats showed up but the pitchers couldn’t keep it close.

Syndication: The Enquirer Albert Cesare via Imagn Content Services, LLC

A new Cardinals season is finally underway, and after a 2020 that was a trial for many people in different ways, it really feels great to be able to just watch Cardinals baseball again. Adam Wainwright and his sweeping curveball took the hill in the powder blue unis for the Cardinals, returning on a one year deal after posting a 3.15 ERA despite a 4.11 FIP over 65.2 innings in 2020. This year also marks the 17th year in which Wainwright has been throwing to Yadier Molina. The Reds starter Tyler Mahle pitched Saturday’s game coming off a promising campaign in the shortened 2020 season, where he was able to put together a 3.59 ERA and 3.88 FIP over 47.2 innings. Mahle sports a 97 mph fastball coupled with a nasty slider that can reach 90 mph, a recipe that Cards hitters have had trouble with in the past.

1st Inning

The top of the Cardinals lineup, as on opening day, consisted of Tommy Edman, Paul Goldschmidt, and Nolan Arenado. Edman fell behind 1-2 before flying a fastball out to left field for out number one. Mahle then caught Goldschmidt swinging over a 2-2 slider for out number two, followed by a hard grounder by Arenado to third to retire the Cards in order.

The first hitters for the Reds fared none the better against Wainwright in the bottom of the inning. Wainwright fed Jesse Winker a 1-2 curveball, who promptly airmailed it to Justin Williams in right field for the first out. Nick Castellanos then grounded an 0-1 curveball back up the middle, which was kicked by Wainwright to Edman, who threw it to Goldschmidt for a 1-6-3 putout. Votto concluded the bottom of the inning with a flyout to Dylan Carlson in right field to end the inning.

2nd Inning

Paul DeJong led off the 2nd inning for St. Louis, and after working a full count, launched a solo shot over the left field fence to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. Tyler O’Neill followed, and Mahle put him away with three straight fastballs. Yadier Molina and Dylan Carlson each followed O’Neill with groundouts to third and shortshop, respectively, to retire the Cards in the 2nd.

Wainwright continued to cruise in the bottom of the 2nd, retiring Eugenio Suarez and Mike Moustakas with flyouts, and striking out out Jonathan India with a 2-2 cutter for another clean inning. At this point, Wainwright was working efficiently and had retired the first 6 Reds batters with only 25 pitches.

3rd Inning

Justin Williams led off the third inning for the Cardinals, and struck out on a foul tip that Tucker Barnhart juggled for what felt like an eternity before securing it for strike three, as well as out number one. Adam Wainwright, seeking to keep his career batting average over .200, struck out looking at a fastball for the second out. Edman then worked a full count before drawing a walk on an eight pitch plate appearance. After a visit to the mound, Arenado jumped on the first pitch he saw and flew out to right field, ending the Cardinals’ threat. Mahle had only allowed one run thus far, but the Cardinals were seeing a lot of pitches, and he needed 57 of them to get through 3 innings.

tyler Naquin led off the bottom of the 3rd for Cincinatti, and drew a walk after working the count full. Wainwright left a cutter middle-middle to the following batter, Barnhart, who sent it over the fence in right-center to give the Reds a 2-1 lead.

Mahle then lined out to first, and Winker followed with a weak grounder along the third base line that beat the Cardinals shift. This seemed to set the trend for Wainwright’s third inning, as the Reds, though having trouble making solid contact through the inning after Barnhart’s home run, played the good old game of “hit it where they ain’t.” Castellanos found solid contact and hit a line drive to center, resulting in runners on first and second with one out. Votto then grounded a changeup over the first base bag. It was hard to tell if Goldschmidt was waiting to see if the ball would go foul or if he was preparing for the ball to carom off the base, but either way he was able to get the out at first while the runners advanced. Runners were on second on third with 2 outs, and the end of the inning was in sight.

Unfortunately, this is where everything started to hit the proverbial fan for St. Louis. Suarez grounded a cutter into the gap between third and shortstop, and while DeJong was able to make a nice diving stop and save both runs from scoring, one came in, extending the Reds lead to 3-1 and leaving runners at the corners with two outs. Moustakas then weakly cued a pitch off the end of the bat down the third base line to drive in another run, resulting in a 4-1 lead for Cincinnati.

India hit a chopper down the third base line, leaving no time for Arenado to attempt a throw to first, and the bases were loaded, still with two away. Naquin hit a soft grounder that found a gap in the infield, scoring both Moustakas and Suarez, and leaving runners at the corners, giving the Reds a 6-1 lead.

After 31 pitches thrown in the third inning, Wainwright’s day was done, and the Cardinals elected to go with Jake Woodford for a long relief assignment, who got the merciful third out as Barnhart swung through a 1-2 fastball. However, the damage was done, and it was up the Cards offense and bullpen to keep the game within reach.

4th Inning

DeJong led off the fourth by launching a line drive home run to right-center for his second of the day, closing the Reds lead to 6-2. O’Neill fell into a 0-2 hole before striking out looking on a fastball on the outside corner. Yadi, ever looking to pounce on first pitches in at bats, did so on this one and lined a base hit to center field. Carlson and Williams both struck out, Carlson swinging at a low splitter and Williams frozen by a 1-2 fastball, ending the Cardinals’ threat.

Things got crazy in the bottom of the fourth. Mahle worked the count full before grounding out to Edman at second, who had to make a diving stop to get the out. Winker struck out looking at a 2-2 fastball.

Castellanos came up to hit next. A pitch got away from Woodford, hitting Castellanos in the ribs, and Castellanos seemed to take exception to it. The only thing I can think of is that he considered it at the time to be retaliation for admiring a home run he it on Thursday. Words were exchanged and he took his place at first. Woodford gained an 0-2 lead on Votto before he laced a base hit to center, sending Castellanos from first to third. Suarez walked, advancing Votto to second and loading the bases.

Moustakas came up to bat, and the first pitch from Woodford went wild up and away. Castellanos broke from third and met Woodford, who was trying to cover home on the play. They collided, both sliding to make the play at the plate. Castellanos, safe at the plate to give the Reds a 7-2 lead, got up, appearing to gesture and yell at Woodford. Yadi, having somewhat of a track record with being involved in bench clearing incidents with Reds, didn’t enjoy seeing his pitcher taunted (which is what it looked like watching the replays). Benches and bullpens cleared to join the donnybrook, and while there was some pushing and shoving, things thankfully didn’t escalate to the level of the brawl we saw in 2010 with Cincy. The teams were separated, and as the bullpens returned to their cages, Williams and Jordan Hicks were shown yelling back to the Reds relief staff, and there was little doubt left that the Cards-Reds rivalry is still alive and well.

Moustakas, after the kerfuffle, walked on four total pitches, and the bases were loaded once again. Woodford got ahead of India 1-2 before losing control of what looked a curveball, which hit India and drove in another run, bringing the Reds lead to 8-2. Woodford then got Naquin swinging on a 2-2 fastball, bringing the inning to a close.

5th Inning

Aristides Aquino came in to replace Castellanos on defense, who was ejected for his role in instigating the fight in the fourth inning.

Woodford led off the fifth inning for the Cards and struck out looking. Edman grounded to first and Goldschmidt struck out swinging through a 1-2 slider for a lackluster top of the inning.

The bottom of the inning was almost as uneventful for the Reds. Barnhart reached on what got ruled an error as a grounder got under the glove of DeJong. Had he fielded it cleanly, he likely would have gotten the out, but the play wasn’t exactly a routine one. It was a moot point anyways, as after Mahle fouled off two bunt attempts, he grounded out to Edman, who tagged Barnhart and threw to first for a 4-3 double play. Winker closed out the inning by grounding out to Goldschmidt, who threw to Woodford covering first for out number three.

6th Inning

Arenado started off the sixth inning by lining a fastball of the glove of a diving Suarez for a base hit. The Reds made a double switch, replacing Mahle with Cam Bedrosian, and bringing in Nick Senzel to play center for Winker, while Naquin moved to right field and Aquino to left. DeJong worked a walk after seeing a full count in a seven pitch plate appearance, giving the Cardinals runners on first and second with no outs. O’Neill struck out on three pitches, chasing a high fastball for strike three. Yadi followed by popping up a 2-1 fastball to right field for the second out. Carlson ripped the first pitch he saw to left field. Aquino, fighting the sun the whole way, lost the ball, which fell at his feet, scoring Arenado to close the lead to 8-3 and advancing DeJong to third, leaving runners on second and third with two outs.

The Reds brought in Cionel Perez to pitch, who faced Austin Dean, pinch hitting for Williams. Dean popped up a 3-1 changeup to second, closing out the Cardinals half of the inning.

Andrew Miller came in to pitch for the Cardinals, and Dean stayed in the game at right field. Aquino led off and ripped a home run off an 88 mph fastball left in the middle of the zone, extending the Reds lead to 9-3.

Miller then struck out both Votto and Suarez with sliders, before giving up a double to Moustakas. India recorded yet another infield hit for the Reds, who now had runners at the corners with two outs. Another pitch got away from Miller, who hit Naquin, loading the bases again. The threat did not fully materialize however, as Barnhart struck out to close the inning.

7th Inning

John Nogowski pinch hit for Miller to lead off the seventh, and hit a grounder into the middle gap and forced India to make an impressive play to take away the hit. Edman grounded out to second on a more routine play, and Goldschmidt struck out for the third time on the day to close the top of the inning.

With a six run deficit, the Cardinals decided to give some work to Jordan Hicks, who replaced Miller to pitch in the bottom of the seventh. Hicks recorded a clean inning with three groundouts by Perez, Senzel, and Aquino, taking the game into the eighth.

8th Inning

Arenado struck out to lead off the eighth, marking the twelfth strikeout for Cardinals batters on the day. DeJong drew a walk on a full count, reaching base for the fourth time in Saturday’s game. O’Neill followed by breaking his 0’fer streak in the game, lacing a single to left field and giving the Cardinals runners on first and second with no outs.

The Reds responded by making a pitching change: Sean Doolittle in for Perez. Doolittle began by walking Yadi and loading the bases. Carlson hit a fastball high and deep enough to right field to score DeJong and advance O’Neill to third, bringing the score to 9-4 in favor of the Reds. Dean finished the top of the inning by swinging through a 1-2 fastball for the final out.

Ty Webb replaced Jordan Hicks to pitch for the Cards in the bottom of the eighth, and got Votto to ground out to second, followed by a strikeout of Suarez. Moustakas jumped the first pitch he saw and flew out to center field, advancing the game to the ninth inning.

9th Inning

The Reds brought in Sal Ramono to close the game in place of Sean Doolittle. The Cards pinch hit Matt Carpenter for Webb, who flew out to left on a 2-0 sinker. Edman grounded out before Goldschmidt landed a base hit in center field for his first hit of the day. Arenado blasted a sinker that Romano left a little up in the zone for his first home run a Cardinal, driving in both himself and Goldschmidt and bringing the game to within three runs at a 9-6 score. DeJong flew out in his final plate appearance, securing the 9-6 win for Cincinnati.

Quick Notes

While I haven’t yet looked at the exact stats for the batted ball data in Wainwright’s third inning, it seems he really got the short end of the stick by BABIP on weak contact by the Reds. There were some solid hits that inning, but so far Wainwright seems to be continuing his approach of pitching to soft contact and hopefully that trend continues with some better results.

The post-game interviews didn’t shed a ton of light on why Castellanos seemed to take his HBP so personally, but whatever happened it seems from Castellanos’s following quote as if differences have been put aside for now, at least between him and Yadi (from Mark Sheldon at Cardinals.com):

“That’s between me and Yadi. Like I said, yo, that guy could have punched me in the face, I’d still ask him for a signed jersey. I’ve got nothing but respect for that cat, bro. He’s a real one. He said his peace [sic]. And I listened. That’s it.”

Final Pitching Lines:

Cardinals

Wainwright: L (0-1), 2.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR

Woodford: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K

Miller: 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 K, 1 HR

Hicks: 1 IP, No runners allowed on base

Webb: 1 IP, 1 K

Reds

Mahle: W (1-0), 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 2 HR

Bedrosian: 0.2 IP, 1 BB, 1 K

Perez: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB 2 K

Doolittle: 0.2 IP, 1 BB, 1K

Romano: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HR

The Cardinals close out the first regular season series against the Reds on Sunday, with Carlos Martinez matching up against Jeff Hoffman.