Oh did allow a one-out single, which made the inning longer since the Reds pinch-ran Billy Hamilton, which meant a lot of throw overs, but he was able to get Ramon Cabrera out before Hamilton could steal second, minimizing his threat. Just the way they drew it up, right?
The bullpen, save for Matthew Bowman, who got to participate in perhaps the wildest inning of the season, was lock-down. Zach Duke threw a scoreless inning and showed why the Cardinals wanted to trade for him. Kevin Siegrist also threw a scoreless frame, with just one walk marring the perfection. (Well, and a screaming liner that would have tied the game by the same guy that hit the homer last night had it not gone foul.) All in all, it was the kind of night that you’d expect out of this bullpen and hopefully the kind of nights we’ll see out of it going forward.
Unfortunately, the Cardinals again had to dip into the bullpen early. Michael Wacha was OK after a first inning that saw him give up half the runs he’d been bequeathed, but Mike Matheny took him out after five innings and 85 pitches. Apparently, the Cards have a “stress” rule that, if a pitcher throws 35-40 pitches in an inning, that matters more than the total number of pitches. Wacha did that twice, prompting his early removal. It’s an interesting rule to follow and not one that I’d disagree with, but it put the bullpen again in the position of needing to cover four innings. That’s happening a lot lately. Carlos Martinez went seven on Sunday, but other than that you have to go back to Wacha going six in his last start to find someone that went over five. Factor in Garcia’s 3.1 innings on Saturday and, well, the ‘pen has been working quite hard lately.
Hopefully that’ll change. Mike Leake goes today–I’d expect he’d probably go six. Maybe Martinez can go seven against the Braves on Friday. Garcia on Saturday, that’s up in the air. Adam Wainwright would finish up the Braves series and you could imagine six or seven there reasonably well. Maybe the bullpen will get a little bit of rest. Can only hope!
Offensively, this really was a frustrating game, at least after the first inning. You’d think a four spot in the first would put you cruising to a victory, but I can think of a number of times in history where they’ve scored a bunch in the first and nothing else. Now, a lot of that was due to baserunning. Last night’s hero for the Reds Scott Schebler robbed Jedd Gyorko of a home run and threw out Matt Holliday trying to stretch a double, showing he’s more than just a bat. But besides Holliday trying for two, Tommy Pham and Brandon Moss got thrown out between third and home. Both of them were “going on contact” which is something I’ve always despised because it seems to do more harm than good. I guess it doesn’t, that I only recognize or remember the times where the runner is out, but it’s tough to imagine it’s more than 50/50. If they don’t lose three batters on the basepaths and Gyorko puts about six inches more on that drive, maybe things are a little different last night. Thankfully Stephen Piscotty followed up the robbery of Gyorko with a blast nobody was catching, which turned out to be the final margin.
Let’s give the Hero to Brandon Moss, who was two for four with a run and two RBI (even if he did have the baserunning issue) and the Goat to Jhonny Peralta, who was 0-4 with three left on, though he did score a run.
Matheny confirmed yesterday that the injury to Tyler Lyons was a big factor in Garcia’s short-rest start against the Marlins. The Patron Pitcher, of course, did relieve Garcia but only threw two-thirds of an inning, something that seemed a waste when you have a lot of innings left to cover. My guess is that they knew the knee was a problem, something that would keep him from an extended outing, but they were hopeful they could use him in short bursts. His outing proved that wasn’t going to happen and so they put him on the DL. Why they waited until Tuesday night is a little strange, of course. I guess they were waiting to see if it’d respond to treatment, but given the way the bullpen is being used, going into battle shorthanded isn’t the wisest strategy. It also explains why they keep holding on to Jerome Williams, who now couples with Bowman to be the innings eaters.
Sounds like the Patron Pitcher is going to be out for a while, perhaps the season. Which is a terribly frustrating way to end what has been a solid year for Lyons. I hope he gets a chance to get back on the mound, in part because it’d be just wrong for him to go out with his last outing being allowing runs in Miami because he was hurt.
Cards try to keep a hold of the second wild card spot, a spot the Marlins have gifted them by losing three straight to the Cubs, including blowing a game in the ninth yesterday. As noted, Leake goes against his old team today. He did this earlier in the season with ugly results (six runs in 6.1 innings). Let’s hope that some of that was nerves and excitement about being back in Great American and that’s worn off by now.
Brandon Finnegan goes for the Redlegs. St. Louis has seen him twice this season. The first time, they got four runs (none of which were earned, incidentally) in five innings off of him in Busch. The second, he allowed two runs in seven innings in his home park. Let’s hope for more of the former and less of the latter in this afternoon’s clash.
Hope you are able to follow the game one way or another this afternoon!