Burning The Home Cooking

There was a bit of a mantra that sprung up around coverage of the Cardinals at the end of last week.  It was pointed out that the Redbirds had the toughest schedule in almost 90 years when you are talking about the number of road games to this point of the year.  Once they got home and in their own ballpark, the reasoning went, things would be much better.

Perhaps that’s the problem.  The Cards had been away so long they didn’t recognize Busch.  Either that or it’s not a flip-the-switch situation.  Because last night was the ugliest thing I’ve seen since I last looked in the mirror.

Obviously, the Goat has to go to Patron Pitcher of the Blog Tyler Lyons.  Anytime you give up a single, double, triple and home run in the first inning, you are likely in for a long night.  Nothing was working for Lyons at all and, even though the Cubs haven’t been that good, they were able to hit most everything with authority.

I’m sure I have a more-than-usual attachment to Lyons, but I was a bit stunned at how fast Twitter turned against him.  Lyons isn’t going to be an ace by any means, but he’s done a pretty solid job since taking over for Joe Kelly in the rotation.  The worst game he had (before last night) was a four-run, six-inning affair against the Pirates last month when he had one bad inning that was exacerbated by a questionable call on Andrew McCutchen that kept him alive rather than striking him out.

It’s not even that Lyons winds up putting a lot of folks on base.  He walked four in his first outing against the Mets, but only two more between then and last night.  He gives up a little less than a hit an inning.  Will the league adjust to him and have his number rise?  Perhaps.  But I don’t think his results have been all that different than Kelly’s would have been.  Of course, he doesn’t wear goggles and come across as a fun-loving guy, which helps Kelly keep a portion of the fan base happy.

Was last night terrible for him?  Sure.  However, remember that just two weeks ago Adam Wainwright had an atrocious game against the Cubs as well.  (Not this bad, but for Waino, it’s comparable.)  The Cubs just may be one of those teams that are going to match up badly for the Cardinals this year.

Now, all of that said, there’s no guarantee that Lyons will make his next start.  Jaime Garcia pitched in Memphis last night and gave up two runs in five innings.  It’s possible that the club will figure that’s enough and bring up Garcia for the next time this spot comes up in the rotation.  I’d probably like to see him throw one more rehab start, given that the first one was cut short and he probably needs to build up the stamina, but that outing does look positive for Garcia.

Of course, last night’s game would have been bad but not atrocious had it not been for the unexpected meltdown of Randy Choate.  I’ll admit, I didn’t get to watch much of the game save the first couple of innings and when I got home from my church group and saw it was 11-5 in the eighth, I didn’t bother with the rest of it.  So I was pretty stunned when I saw the Cubs had tacked on six more runs.

We argued earlier in the year that Choate shouldn’t be more than a LOOGY, but he’s actually done a fairly solid job at pitching complete innings this year.  Last night, though, he fooled nobody.  I think the Cubs sent up the batboy at one time and he got a hit.  When you get relieved by Daniel Descalso, you know it’s been a rough night.

The one bright spot in all of this drek was Yadier Molina, who gets the Hero tag.  Molina had two of the team’s six hits, scored a run, drove in a run, and even stole third base.  He did have his second passed ball in as many nights, but a good bit of that was on Lyons.  Molina set up low and away, Lyons threw it high and in.  Yadi got his glove on it and could have caught it, but it was still a pretty big reach for him to even get close.

The good thing about baseball is that 1) a 17-5 loss counts for as much as a 1-0 loss and 2) unlike other sports, there’s no runs allowed tiebreaker to get into the playoffs.  The Cards have to come out and play well tonight and put that game behind them, much like they didn’t let the momentum from Sunday night’s exciting win come with them to St. Louis.  If it works in the negative, it’s gotta work in the positive, right?

It also helps that they get to run Adam Wainwright out there.  Waino struggled last time against the Cubs, but has righted the ship since then and, given his competitive nature, won’t be allowing such a strafing again this time.

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP
Starlin Castro 35 31 9 1 1 0 4 2 3 .290 .343 .387 .730 0 1 1 1 3
Darwin Barney 29 29 8 2 0 1 5 0 5 .276 .276 .448 .724 0 0 0 0 0
Nate Schierholtz 22 21 7 4 0 0 1 1 5 .333 .364 .524 .887 0 0 0 0 0
Anthony Rizzo 20 18 6 0 0 1 3 2 3 .333 .400 .500 .900 0 0 0 0 2
Luis Valbuena 15 14 5 4 0 0 0 1 1 .357 .400 .643 1.043 0 0 0 0 0
Welington Castillo 12 11 3 2 0 0 3 0 2 .273 .250 .455 .705 0 1 0 0 0
Chris Coghlan 12 11 4 1 0 0 0 1 4 .364 .417 .455 .871 0 0 0 0 1
Emilio Bonifacio 11 10 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 .200 .273 .200 .473 0 0 0 0 0
John Baker 10 10 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 .100 .100 .200 .300 0 0 0 0 1
Junior Lake 9 9 3 1 0 1 2 0 4 .333 .333 .778 1.111 0 0 0 0 0
Travis Wood 8 7 2 0 0 1 1 0 2 .286 .286 .714 1.000 1 0 0 0 0
Jeff Samardzija 7 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 1 0 0 0 0
Carlos Villanueva 7 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Edwin Jackson 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .500 .000 .500 1 0 0 0 0
Ryan Kalish 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Total 203 188 50 16 1 4 19 9 41 .266 .300 .426 .726 3 2 1 1 7
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/13/2014.

This is actually a fairly big game for Waino. If the Cards can’t do any more than split a series with the Cubs at home, it’s not a strong indicator that this is the team we thought it was.  If he loses, though, that’s the best the Cards can manage.  If he wins, they can still take the next two games, write off last night, and have a little momentum built up.

He’ll have to do it against Jake Arrieta.  Arrieta threw 5.1 scoreless innings in his first start of the season, which of course was against the Cards.  In his only other start this year, the White Sox got him for three runs in four innings.  Let’s hope that St. Louis has that kind of success tonight.

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP
Mark Ellis 9 5 1 0 0 0 3 3 3 .200 .444 .200 .644 0 1 0 0 0
Jhonny Peralta 8 8 4 2 0 0 1 0 0 .500 .500 .750 1.250 0 0 0 0 0
Matt Carpenter 6 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000 .167 .000 .167 0 0 0 0 0
Allen Craig 6 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .000 .167 .000 .167 0 0 0 1 0
Matt Holliday 6 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000 .167 .000 .167 0 0 0 0 0
Peter Bourjos 5 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 .000 .400 .000 .400 0 0 0 0 0
Jon Jay 5 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000 .200 .000 .200 0 0 0 0 0
Matt Adams 3 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000 0 0 0 0 0
Daniel Descalso 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Greg Garcia 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Yadier Molina 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Michael Wacha 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Total 56 46 8 2 0 0 4 8 16 .174 .304 .217 .521 0 1 0 1 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/13/2014.

Not a lot of success there, but there’s not a lot of exposure either. Hopefully the fact that they saw him recently will help them with their sense of familiarity and they can do more than they did last time out.

Shake it off, Cards fans.  Today has to be better!

  • mrlyngreen

    You were surprised Twitter “turned” on somebody? That’s what they do. It gets worse every year. That’s why I stayed away from Twitter last night until the game was over.

    Lyons and Choate had bad games. They happen. Waino had that debacle last season against the Reds where they unloaded on him for like 9 runs in 2 innings. The problem with this one was the timing. If the Cardinals were playing well and in first place, the reaction would have been a little different.

    Most Cardinals fans on Twitter are simply reactionary. Every game is like a playoff game. Players go from heroes to villains to back again in the blink of an eye. Memories are short and so are tempers. When you are a fan used to winning, losing, and losing big, does not go down smoothly.

    This team is under performing in a big way and it is a mystery as to why. That makes it even worse.

    Lyons will be ok. He will go back to Memphis and pitch well. I don’t have high expectations for Jaime though. He is never going to be the pitcher he used to be.

    • Cardinal70

      Not [i]that[/i] they did, how quickly they did. Lyons wasn’t even out of the first before it was “Lyons is terrible” and “Always said he sucked.” I know Twitter is a fickle place, but it usually doesn’t run me off that quickly. Last night it did.

      Tough to say exactly what that pitcher used to be for Jaime, isn’t it? He’s had good games and even a few stretches of nice play, but he’s never been consistently good, I don’t think. Perhaps the last couple of years have overshadowed them in my mind. I agree, though, I don’t have a lot of faith in Garcia staying in one piece for any extended period of time.

      • mrlyngreen

        Jaime’s first year, when he finished 3rd in ROY is my baseline for him. He will certainly never be that guy again. I doubt he will ever be even 70% of that guy. Shoulder injuries in pitchers never completely heal. Some can compensate well enough. I don’t see Jaime being one of those.

    • Tulsa Terry

      last night was not just another game. First of the homestand after many road games. Public remarks from the manager and team president about the schedule. Gm remarks not concerned. Rivalry game on national television and lose 17-5. Pitch a utility infielder. Downplaying the significance is misguided.

      • mrlyngreen

        The timing of it is the only significant thing about it. There have been such blowouts many times before and there will be again. I remember getting blown out 18-4 against the Astros of all teams several seasons ago. They are embarrassing, but they are just one loss. They don’t count any more than a 1-0 loss.

        • Tulsa Terry

          I hope its a wake up call.

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