Look, I’m on a tight time schedule here and nothing is coming to me for a title. I thought about “You Down With RISP, Because The Cardinals Aren’t” but that didn’t work well. I looked for some sort of air pun for Jake Arrieta (“Letting the Arrieta Out of the Tires”, etc.) but it seemed like a stretch. So you come up with a fun title for this one while I get into the recap.
You know when you go into a game with Arrieta that it is going to be difficult. We talked about that on Monday morning, how he’s done a stellar job of just shutting the Cardinals down. (Then again, he’s pretty much done that with the National League as a whole the last couple of years.) Last night, though, a key hit here or there and things might have been significantly different. Instead, the Cards fell to the Cubs and need a win today to take the series.
And by here and there, I pretty much mean the sixth. The Cards scored their run in the fifth in the Stephen Piscotty Abuse Inning, but the sixth is where the game sat open for the taking. In fairness, it all started with two outs, which is a tough place for a rally to start, but a bloop from Jhonny Peralta fell in, Yadier Molina got a single, and Greg Garcia worked a walk with a wild pitch tossed in for good measure. (I had no idea Arrieta led the league in wild pitches last year. Good thing he doesn’t have a Molina behind the plate, at least from our point of view.) Randal Grichuk couldn’t replicate Sunday night, though, and popped up on the infield. Which wasn’t an uncommon sight last night–seemed like a lot of folks were popping it up on both sides.
Matt Adams might have tied it in the seventh (though on replay it seemed more likely it’d have bounced off the top of the wall for a double) but Albert Almora made a nice grab. I joked on Twitter that if Adams hadn’t lost all that weight, the ball would have gone out since he’d been able to put more behind it. Adams had a fine night at the plate after coming in as a pinch-hitter, drawing a walk in a very good AB and then the deep fly.
Can we also talk about how baseball is the most ironic of sports? Matt Adams goes three straight spring training games without a ball hit to him before finally getting a chance in his fourth stationing in the outfield. The first time he goes into left in a major league game, the first batter hits one to him. Because baseball. Adams wound up with two balls that inning and one the next and didn’t completely look lost out there. If his bat continues to be as warm as it was in the spring, he may see more time over there than we expected.
Let’s talk about what is going to be a legendary trip around the bases by Piscotty. It reminded me of that game in San Diego years ago when Albert Pujols hit the ball off of Chris Young‘s nose, knocking him out of the game, then sliding into the catcher (whose name I can’t remember) and taking him out of the game a batter or two later. This time, though, all the damage was centered on Piscotty, who got plunked in the side to get on base, was clipped on the elbow as he went to second on a wild pitch, and then was clocked in the head on a throw home as he scored the game’s only run. Piscotty’s going to be reevaluated today, though initial signs were positive. Given that throw and how it seemed to land flush on the side of Piscotty’s helmet, I’m almost surprised he’s not going on the seven-day concussion DL, but it looks like that won’t be necessary. He’s probably not starting this afternoon, though.
Last night was a good game between two good teams. Adam Wainwright was serviceable and got the outs that he needed to. He allowed his first run on a bloop hit by Jason Heyward and the second came because of Grichuk’s miscue of throwing home on that play instead of third. Other than that, he seemed to keep the hitters off balance, striking out six in five innings and getting popups and fly balls. If he hadn’t been in Busch in April, though, it’s possible some of those fly balls would have carried more and we’d be a little more concerned about his outing. As it was, I still found myself on pins and needles his whole time out there. It never felt like he was in complete control like we’ve seen in the past, but that’s likely just the world we live in now. Waino’s going to be good most of the time, but it’s never going to let us get completely comfortable with him.
Good work by the Cardinal bullpen last night, showing they can be trusted in a close game. I missed the last couple of innings and apparently Jonathan Broxton made it interesting, but on the whole the pen held. Great debut for Brett Cecil in a Cardinal uniform, throwing a scoreless frame and striking out one to boot.
Let’s name our Hero and Goat. Not a lot to choose from on the Hero side, given how Arrieta kept the offense in check, but I’ll go with Stephen Piscotty because of his baserunning and the fact that he scored the game’s only run. For the Goat, Randal Grichuk had the misplay in the field and left five men stranded while going o-fer. Think we have to give it to him, which again shows just what kind of game baseball is.
Afternoon affair in St. Louis today, that is, if the weather cooperates. Right now, the hourly forecast from the Weather Channel doesn’t look so promising, as it has a 60% or better of rain from noon until 9 PM. It would be a terrible time for a rainout, as there is an off day tomorrow and we’d have to like 72 hours without baseball, which is just cruel after it just returned. Assuming it goes off as planned, it’ll be Lance Lynn against John Lackey. Lynn, who apparently has backtracked on his desire to reach free agency and now would like to be a “Cardinal for life” if they’d offer him an extension, is obviously making his first appearance since the end of the 2015 season, when he was so damaged the Cards skipped him in the playoffs in favor of Lackey going on short rest.
(Aside: As for Lynn and an extension, there’s two schools of thought. One is that you can never have enough pitching and Lynn’s been a solid contributor. The other is that you have a full rotation next year under contract even without Lynn and you have a lot of other arms coming through the system. I would think that the Cards will probably not go that route just because they will need to start saving some money somewhere and they do have a lot of options, but it wouldn’t be a terrible thing if they brought him back.)
|Tommy La Stella||6||6||1||1||0||0||1||0||1||.167||.167||.333||.500||0||0||0||0||0|
Lackey, as we know, as always done very well at Busch Stadium. He’s 12-4 with a 2.02 mark on the St. Louis bump and the Cardinals would really like to raise that ERA today. I mean, he’s a friend and all, but there’s only so far that goes.
Should be another close, exciting game….if they get it in!