A laboring pitcher who is taken out for injury concerns. A rally from down three, only to see that lead evaporate. Numerous reviews. A ball almost hitting the runner. A runner scoring from second on a grounder. Things that don’t just happen every day all seemed to be crammed into nine innings in Colorado last night.
Of course, most everything that happened in the game last night was overshadowed by Shelby Miller walking off the mound in the third. When you’ve already put two pitchers on the disabled list this week, you’d really not like to go for the hat trick. Miller thinks he can make his next start, that it was just some back spasms, but you never can tell with Cardinals and injuries. After all, I think there was some thought Joe Kelly would make his next one after his hamstring, maybe delay it a couple of days, and that was two months ago. There was no indication Michael Wacha was doing more than skipping a start until he went on the DL. We’ll see what comes out of Cardinal camp today or tomorrow about the health of Miller before we get terribly confident that this was an isolated thing
Given Miller’s erratic season, the fact that he walked 4.75 people (he got credit for his fifth when Nick Greenwood threw his first pitch wide and walked the batter Miller was working on) wasn’t necessarily the alarm flag it could have been. I listened to the first part on the radio and I assumed that the altitude was playing tricks on Miller, that his stuff was reacting differently in the thin air. Apparently that wasn’t the case, but it’s still another disappointing chapter in Miller’s season.
Given the injury, I’m hesitant to give him the Goat, nor do I want to give it to Greenwood, who did lose the lead he was quickly given by a rallying offense, but again was thrown into a situation he wasn’t planning on. No one in the bullpen had a real good game save Seth Maness, who went 1.2 innings and allowed nothing, even striking out Troy Tulowitzki with a runner on third to keep the game close.
I’m going to give it to Sam Freeman, I believe. Freeman has been very effective out of the pen lately, but last night turned a 6-5 game late into an 8-5 game. Asking the Cards to score nine to win was really going above and beyond. If it stays close, one swing ties it. Allowing the Rockies to add on just sealed the Redbirds’ fate.
For the Hero, there were a few good offensive nights to choose from, but I’m going to go with Jhonny Peralta. He hit his 11th home run of the season to tie the ballgame up (at a time when, given all the focus on Miller, it seemed the Cards were way down) and then made a very slick defensive play later on to keep the deficit at one.
Mark Ellis came through with two hits, as did Peter Bourjos. Bourjos scored from second on a groundball by Tony Cruz, prompting Derrick Goold to tweet out that he was the first Cardinal to do that since Albert Pujols did it, also in Colorado. When he said that, it jogged my memory of that play. Just one of the many moments AP gave us.
Matt Holliday and Allen Craig also had two hits, while Matt Adams had one of the longest singles you’ll ever see. The offense was going last night, even bringing the tying run to the plate late before Jon Jay struck out as a pinch-hitter. If they could hit like that normally, they’d win a lot more games.
We get two debuts for the price of one today. You already know that Marco Gonzales is going for the Cardinals. The Denver-area native, who might hang around until they know for sure what’s up with Miller’s back, makes the jump from AA to take the ball. The last pitcher to do that was Trevor Rosenthal, though he came up as a reliever. It’s still an interesting decision for the Cardinals to do this, to promote Gonzales for what would seem to be a spot start, but it’s exciting nonetheless. St. Louis hasn’t officially made the move yet, but most likely will put Keith Butler on the 60-day DL and, most likely, demote Eric Fornataro to free up the 25-man spot. By the way, Gonzales’s father is a pitching coach in the Rockies’ organization and Colorado is flying him in to be there to watch his son. I thought that was a very classy thing for them to do.
The Rockies also have promoted someone for this afternoon’s affair. Yohan Flande had an ERA over 4 in AAA, but since the Rockies’ AAA affiliate is Colorado Springs, that’s not real surprising. He actually came over from the Braves and that 4+ ERA seems to be consistent through his minor league career. Just at that surface examination, it looks like Flande isn’t a top prospect, but that doesn’t mean he can’t shut down the Redbirds today. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen!