It is an episode of Oprah’s Favorite Things. There is a hush over the crowd. The anticipation builds as each person stills in their seat, awaiting what she says next. “I want everyone to check under their seats...”
The members of the crowd whip their heads down to follow her instructions and there is a beat of muffled movement before they see it. Gasps breaks the silences.
“It’s a groundball!!!!!!!” she exclaims while point at the crowd. “You get a groundball! You get a groundball! EVERYBODY GETS A GROUNDBALL!”
And then the Cardinals gave up four runs in bottom of the seventh and lost the baseball game. That is exactly how it happened and there is no way for anyone to prove otherwise.
Full disclosure: at various points I might have fallen asleep trying to stay up to watch this game. I just don’t have it in me anymore, folks. If I try to watch something on TV after 8:30 pm, I will fall asleep. After watching the first five innings, at some point I dozed off because I woke up in time to hear a runner get on in the bottom of the seventh after Tommy Edman error. Jordan Montgomery left the game after that. He’d pitched a great game really up to that point — after struggling in the bottom of the first for 31 pitches it did not seem like a game he would pitch 6 innings in, but he settled in for 6 strikeouts and only 1 walk.
Drew Verhagen was called in in relief and promptly gave up a double to make it second and third with no one out. A brief note here from a version of me that was hopeful the Cardinals would escape this inning with minimal damage and this small detail would be a bigger deal: Tyler O’Neill adeptly raced over to the left field corner to cut off the double and keep the runner at third. It doesn’t seem like much, but a lesser fielder could not have gotten to the ball in time and that runner likely scores. It just seemed like one of those small things that gets missed within the flashier moments of the game, but actually can play a huge role in the outcome.
It didn’t this time, of course, but maybe there is a version of this game in some alternate reality in which it could have!
The Cardinals decided to walk the left-handed hitting Joc Peterson intentionally to load the bases with no outs and face Thairo Estrada. It initially looked like it would work out after Verhagen struck Estrada out on a beautiful sequence. Let’s see if Baseball Savant has the Illustrator up...
It looked like the Cardinals would escape the jam with only one run scored after a sacrifice fly scored a run and cost the Giants their second out of the inning, but J.D. Davis hit a 3-run home run to give the Giants a four-run lead.
That is really the story of the game. I have a few other notes if you are interested though:
The Cardinals were able to load the bases in the top of the fifth, but Lars Nootbaar grounded out to end the threat. Though the Birdos were kept scoreless, they managed to get six hits on the night and one walk.
Brendan Donovan had a nice game in the field. He was able to keep the Giants off the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth a pair of slick-fielding plays.
I have some sort of delirious note that says “Montgomery strike out bottom of the fifth second out”. Let’s see what I meant by that...
Oh yeah, the back-to-back changeups with 3-1 and 3-2 count to get the strikeout. That was kickass.
That seems like a nice note to end this on. Let’s hope the Cardinals fare better tomorrow with Jake Woodford facing a yet to be determined Giants pitcher at 8:45 pm. Goodnight!