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Game Overview – April 21 – Cardinals try to avoid a sweep behind their Ace and end up losing the 4th in a row.

Vaseline 2 months ago

Pre-game notes

  • The Cardinals come into the game 9-12 and have lost three in a row.
  • With the Cardinals falling below the .500 mark, Cards fans’ fears have increased. Almost PTSD-like symptoms with a flashback to last year’s 10-24 start to creep in.
  • There was a sighting of Zach Thompson yesterday. I noticed that his FB velo was back up to previous standards. He went 10 days between performances. I thought that was strange. Are you wondering if there was an injury or illness?
  • There is not much new on the medical front. No new injuries. Middleton, Carlson and Edman are all improving, but it’s all still weeks away. Carpenter is nearing rehab, according to MLB.com. I have a nickel that says he’s going to rehab this week and rejoining the team on Friday for a trip to NYM.
  • According to MLB.com, Pallante and Scott opted to move this AM to AAA status, with Robertson and Pages replacing them.
  • Turns out the Cards offensive breakout yesterday was partially due to an injured pitcher (Hall) who ends up on IL today.

Alignment operations

  • Based on usage, we expect Gallegos to be offline today. Robertson, coming from AAA, did not pitch last night. He was the reliever acquired in the TON trade. Marmol tends to redshirt young relievers, so we’ll see if he’s actually used.
  • Goldy drops to 5 holes, Gorman drops to 8. Siani starts in CF. He might have a good run there. Burleson at DH. Elder Contreras to the 2 hole. I’m fine with that.
  • This lineup faces 33-year-old veteran RHP Colin Rea.

The game

T1 – Frelick reverse K. Baby Contreras K swings. He’s a human! Adames doubles down. He apparently owns Gray, but a flat FB in the middle can solidify ownership like nothing else. Hoskins from F8. Smooth inning of 11 pitches. Maybe the fear can settle down a bit now that we’re reminded that Gray is pretty good at this pitching thing.

B1 – Donovan looks to break a 2-for-29 streak. He does this with a bunt along the 3B line. Elder Contreras looks to extend his thirteen-game winning streak. He does this with the liner towards the center, 180 km/h. Nootbar loses home run as Perkins belts another one, 107 miles per hour. F8. Arenado Walks. Bases loaded situation finds collapsing Goldy. Naturally. He jumps out. Uhm. Funny how the game finds you when you’re having a hard time, huh? You can’t hide. Burleson works at 3-1, he hits a grounder. Can’t really complain about the field selection. Cut in half. Hit it straight into the ground at 170 km/h. I wonder when the BABIP worm will turn for him. Cards 0-3 RISP, no runs.

T2 – Perkins K’s. Turang chooses opponent. Miller F8. Turang moves up to second when Gray’s THIRD withdrawal does not result in a pick-off. But Ortiz K must quell the emerging rally.

B2 – Winn hits lead-off double to right. Gorman grounded out at 3-1, Winn to third base with 1 out. Siani walks and steals 2nd. Donovan in the key position, reverse K. Ugh. Took all three shots and let the pitcher and umpire dictate. Very bad approach from the AB there. In that situation, very low chances of GIDP and almost every contact results in a run. There’s no point in swinging the bat even once. They didn’t go around him to get to Contreras. Even a bunt would have been a better choice. Contreras jumps out to end another threat. Still tied at 0.

T3 – Chourio reverse K. Frelick swinging K. Gray really rolling. Baby Contreras from 1-3.

B3 – Note bar line off. Arenado out 5-3. Golden K’s. Seems like a bad thing to do too. What a pity.

T4 – Adames eliminated 6-3. Hoskins K. Perkins eliminated 4-3.

B4 – Burleson F7 on square through the middle. He might be the only guy I’ve ever seen where they throw the ball in the heart of the plate and let him hit it to someone. How can that happen so often? Winn strikes. Gorman is on the line. Two well hit balls today. Reason for optimism? Still 0-0.

T5 – Turang swings out. Miller reverse K. Ohmigosh! Ortiz runs. That’s Gray’s first walk in months. He quickly solves that by taking Chourio to K. Chourio is their Walker. Lots of potential, not ready for MLB. Gray from 68 pitches to 5. He doesn’t mess around with wasted pitches 0-2. Goes right after hitters. He has 10 K’s. Really a low number of pitches with such a high K number.

B5 – Siani Singles. I mean like a regular ground ball to the outfield. Donovan jumps to the left. Contreras F8. I’m not sure why Siani is anchored in the first place, as much as these guys need to make runs. Nootbar channels those thoughts by following with a bunt-single. Arenado jumps out. Rea in 84 places. Card 0-7 RISP.

T6 – Frelick out 1-3. Contreras out 6-3. I have to appreciate those two guys swinging early in the count and keeping Gray’s pitch count down. Adames Ks. Gray really cuts these guys to pieces.

B6 – Goldy starts with a wide. Roe out. 5+ innings. 3 K. 3 BB. 5 hits. No running. Not bad for someone with FB who might not break glass. Hudson in. Burleson greets him with a K. Winn line out. Gorman Ks.

T7 – Hoskins K’s. Gray’s 12th K of the game. Perkins and Turang are both in the middle. Oli visits Gray but leaves him out of it. Turang steals. Miller drives both in with a single to left. That’s the end of Gray’s day. Very sharp. 6.1 innings, 12 K, 1 BB, 2 runs. A total of 93 places. Romero enters. He gets Ortiz to ground out to short, but Gorman can’t complete DP. Chourio from 1-3. Brewers now leads 2-0.

B7 – Siani F8. Donovan F8. Contreras reverse K.

T8 – Romero back outside. Wiemer out 5-3. Good play from that third baseman. Enter Kittredge. Contreras strikes out. Adames singles, Hoskins with soft lining to end the 8th.

B8 – Nutbar K’s. Peguero came for Hudson, who had the lights out. Arenado Walks. Goldy singles, all 76 mph, with an .860 xBA. Burleson continues his penchant for hard hits, 100mph F8. And yes, it was thrown across the board. Winn flies out.

T9 – Liberatore replaces Romero, who did well. Mandatory “new reliever starts the inning with a lead-off walk.” In reality, there haven’t been nearly as many of these this year, which has been a blessing. Turang GIDP to clear the walk. Miller F7. Another nice job in the bullpen today.

B9 – Payamps in for Peguero. Gorman Ks. Again. That 40% strikeout rate doesn’t work. Herrera out 5-3. Donovan from 3am. Brewers win 3-0.

Post-game (and musings)

  • It’s funny how unpredictable baseball can be. The Cardinal offense was the least of my worries heading into the season. But before yesterday’s debacle, the Cardinals were 3rd in the NL in runs allowed (who would have thought?), but 14th in runs scored. About the opposite of where I had bet. Now you know why I don’t bet money.
  • The starting pitching was sharp, the bullpen was sharp and the defense was solid. The offense is incompetent. IT seems to be in the personality of this team. 0-9 RISP. It’s a good thing that clutch hitting is random and not a skill, because if it were a skill I’d say the Cardinals are sorely lacking.
  • This is still better baseball than last year, even if the results aren’t there. In a way it can be more frustrating because they play a lot of exciting, exciting games where it seems like one little thing could make it work in their favor (like the Nootbar HR coming back), but they can’t quite find that big hit or big pitch and line it up with something that leads to a positive outcome. But I’d still rather watch this than the nightmare of walks, errors, wild pitches and other self-inflicted wounds that made most games last year 1) last longer and 2) be over sooner.
  • I look at the Brewers lineup and staff and wonder how they’re doing. I mean, really, who among the Brewers would you pick, out of their starting 9, over a Cardinal? Contreras perhaps? It’s not devilish magic. They are starting to realize that their management team is far superior to the Cardinals’ FO in terms of roster construction and making the most of who is on the roster. I tip my hat to them.