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Cardinals @ Reds Recap 4.12 - Cards win a wild one to take the series

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This game had a bit of everything- extra innings, web-gem defensive plays, pitchers pinch-hitting, triple-digit-throwing closers, empty bullpens, manager challenges, and a Cardinal win.

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Cardinals @ Cincinnati Reds

Carlos Martinez vs. Raisel Inglesias
11:10 a.m. CT
Great American Ballpark - Cincinnati, Ohio

Today's Lineups -

Some News -

Things we were looking for -

Starting pitcher Raisel Inglesias is making his major league debut.  A defector from Cuba, Iglesias looks to fill a void in the rotation left by Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon, departures during the offseason.  Carlos Martinez makes his 2015 starting debut (following up an inning of relief work in the season opener).  Mark Reynolds makes the start at first base.

Things that happened -

Top halves -

Iglesias started the first two innings in impressive style, setting down the first 6 he faced.  I was impressed with his command of the bottom of the strike zone.  Brayan Pena was doing his splits thing and setting up really low, and probably stole him a couple strikes outside the zone.  Iglesias' curve was nice and tight early.

In the third, Kolten Wong broke through with a single up the middle on a pitch in on his hands.  Matt Carpenter also almost got a hit, but was robbed by a nice diving stop by Brandon Phillips.

In the fourth, Jhonny Peralta worked a two out, full-count walk.  Mark Reynolds followed that with a double down the left field line.  They were stranded when Jon Jay flew out to left on a 3-0 pitch.  Rick and Dan suggested that Jay might not have had the green light on that pitch if Yadi had been swinging the bat better.

Yadier Molina took his best swing of the young season to lead off the fifth, rocketing a double into the left field corner.  Iglesias started losing command a bit after that.  He walked Wong.  Carlos Martinez laid down a nice sac bunt to advance the runners to second and third.  Carpenter put the birds on the board by ripping a ground ball single into right field, scoring two.  Heyward continued the train, doubling into the right field corner, scoring Carpenter.  Heyward tried to stretch the double to a triple, and nearly did so, but was called out on a strong relay through from Phillips.  A Matt Holliday groundout ended the inning.  That was it for Iglesias.  His final line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 76 pitches thrown.

Cardinals lead 3-1.

Tony Cingrani took over the pitching duties for the Reds in the sixth.  Mark Reynolds erased a Peralta leadoff single by grounding into a double play.

Yadi and Carpenter took walks in the seventh.  They took second and third after a passed ball and a wild pitch.  They ended the inning there as Heyward popped up to Todd Frazier for the third out.

Jumbo Diaz pitched an extremely eventful eighth.  Peralta tied up the ballgame with a towering 2-run homer to follow up Holliday's leadoff single.  Reynolds walked.  Jay got hit by a pitch.  Bryan Price had something to say about that, apparently arguing that Jay didn't do enough to get out of the way.  He got himself tossed from the game.  On the very next pitch from Diaz, Yadi bunted a dribbler right in front of the plate.  The result of the play was confounding and confusing.  Devin Mesoraco jumped right on it, and perhaps tagged Yadi coming out of the box.  He then threw to third, which perhaps forced out Bourjos.  Frazier then threw it to third, which perhaps forced out Yadi, assuming Yadi hadn't been tagged out of the box.  The call on the field was a double play, forces at third and first.  Matheny issued a challenge, which determined that Mesoraco did indeed tag Yadi out of the box, meaning that there wasn't a force at third.  That put runners on second and third with one out and Wong at the plate.  Daiz was able to induce popouts from Wong and Adams to end the inning with those two runners stranded.  The game was tied, though, 5-5.

Aroldis Chapman pitched the ninth for the Reds.  He got popups out of Carpenter and Heyward.  Holliday worked a walk, bringing up Peralta.  He drove one all the way to the wall in right-center, but it simply became the third out.

Kevin Gregg in the tenth.  He only used 5 pitches to dispatch the Cards.  Pete Kozma flew out on the first pitch to him.  Jay grounded out on the first pitch to him.  Yadi used a total of three pitches to strike out.

Wong led off the 11th against Gregg with a single to right field. Then with one out, up came Mr. Carpenter.  He had a classic Carpenter at bat, fouling off pitches and taking pitches and working a full count.  Then he blasted his first homer of the year into right center with a beautiful swing.  He put the Cards up 7-5, which proved to be the final score.

Bottom halves -

Carlos Martinez pitched well early on.  Jon Jay helped him out by making an outstanding sliding catch on a fly ball to the warning track in left-center off the bat of Brandon Phillips.  He started the play in pretty shallow center and covered a lot of ground to chase it down.  Here's a video:

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2015_04_12_slnmlb_cinmlb_1&mode=video&content_id=70332683&tcid=vpp_copy_70332683

index.0.jsp

In the second, Jay Bruce rocketed a homer to straight away center to put the Reds up 1-0.

Matt Carpenter made a fantastic diving stop to his right and zinged a super throw across to nab Brennan Boesch at first.  Take a look.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2015_04_12_slnmlb_cinmlb_1&mode=video&content_id=70349583&tcid=vpp_copy_70349583

(I don't think those hyperlinked correctly, but it'll get you close, I hope!)

In the fourth, Jay Bruce worked a one-out walk.  Boesch succumbed to an especially nasty changeup to strike out.

In the fifth, slider to Zack Cozart struck him out. Old friend Skip Shumaker made an appearance.  He adjusted his batting gloves each pitch, but stayed in the batter's box to do so.  He grounded out.  Billy Hamilton blasted a homer to the right-center part of the yard to bring the Reds to back within 1.  Cards up 3-2.

A quick sixth with a Bruce walk was it for Martinez.  His final line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 100 pitches thrown.

Seth Maness took over in the seventh.  Brayan Pena laid down a beautiful bunt to reach base.  As he got to first, he got caught in in between figuring out if he should slide or not.  As a result, he sort of slid/fell and hurt his shoulder.  They sent in a pinch runner for him.  Another single by Cozart put runners on first and second.  Cingrani struck out trying to bunt them along.  Hamilton did the job with a swinging bunt, setting up a Randy Choate/Joey Votto matchup.  It felt an awful lot like the lynch pin of the game.  Votto worked a good AB that resulted in a full-count walk to load the bases.  Matheny brought in Matt Belisle to face Frazier with the bases loaded and two outs.  Frazier served an 0-1 breaking ball into center field, scoring two.  Phillips added yet another with a single to left.  Kevin Siegrist became the fourth pitcher of the inning, facing Bruce.  He was able to stop the bleeding, striking out the big right fielder.  
Reds lead 5-3.

Jordan Walden pitched the eighth for the Cards.  He gave up singles to Kris Negron and Cozart, but was able to strand them.

Trevor Rosenthal came in for a crazy ninth.  He issued walks to Votto and Frazier on 9 pitches, throwing mostly offspeed stuff and breaking balls.  He got a strikeout on Phillips, and got Bruce to pop out.  Sometime during the Phillips at bat, Rosie got some confidence in his fastball, and was dominant from then on out.  Marlon Byrd made a pinch hit appearance and struck out on three straight heaters down in the zone, the last one measuring in the triple digits.

Negron led off the tenth for the Reds against Carlos Villanueva.  He walked.  Cozart bunted him along to second.  Mesoraco got hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second with one out and Hamilton up.  Hamilton and Carlos had a seven pitch battle, which resulted in a strikeout on the outside edge with a nice breaking ball.  They pitched around Votto, loading the bases with two outs for Frazier.  Carlos was able to strikeout Frazier to extend the game to the 11th.

Villanueva  gave up a leadoff single to Phillips, and issued a two-out walk to Negron.  He was able to get an important out out of Bruce.  Jason Marquis also made a pinch hit appearance, but wasn't able to deliver.  The game ended on a Cozart groundball to shortstop.  Cards win 7-5.

Final Notes -

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  • Jay's catch and Carpenter's plays were fantastic.
  • I was impressed with Inglesias the first time and a half or so through the lineup.  He showed good command of the bottom of the strikezone.  He could be fun to watch if he can figure out how to get through a lineup a couple times.
  • Carlos Martinez looked very good.  He deployed his changeup to lefties and righties (Votto and Bruce had a couple swings and misses on it) and his slider was sharp to the righties, making Hamilton, Cozart, Boesch and Frazier (at least) look silly on them.  He racked up 8 strikeouts through 6 innings.  His efficiency wasn't great- he worked into some deep counts and threw 100 pitches through his 6 innings.  He issued two walks, both to Jay Bruce.  Both of them looked to be of the pitch-around variety.  Here's Carlos' Brooks gamelog.  It claims 23 each of a four-seamer and a two-seamer, and 22 changeups, and then 7 that are probably changeups misidentified as "fastballs".  He also got in 25 curves.  I liked the pitch mix.  I dunno if this really says anything, but this is a pretty graph that shows some spin vs. speed data:
  • The Pena injury became important in the game because it thinned the bench for the Reds a little earlier than needed, requiring a pinch hit appearance from Marquis in the 11th with the game on the line.
  • "The strike zone has appeared to get a little bigger from the seventh inning on." - Ricky Horton.  I agree.  It did seem expanded on both sides and down low  for both teams.
  • Gamenotes: CardsReds
  • Fangraphs page for the game.  Carpenter, Peralta, and Villanueva contributed the most to the Cardinals win, according to the fangraphs win percentage added stat.

Looking ahead -

Tune in tomorrow for the home opener.   Matt Garza and his Brewers will look to topple Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis crew.  The fun begins at 3:15 CT.