Two games with the Rockies and, unsurprisingly given this team, a mixed bag of results. Before we get into the positive that was Adam Wainwright‘s start, we’ve got to look at Tuesday’s outing.
Tuesday (3-1 loss)
Hero: Kolten Wong. On a night where there was little offense to speak of, Wong provided the lion’s share of it. Two hits and two walks in his four plate appearances. He didn’t score the only run, but he did help keep the rally that created that run going.
Goat: Matt Carpenter. 0-4 and he left five men on base. To be fair, two of them were left when he hit a deep drive that was probably only a foot or so away from tying up the game, but it fell short and they don’t give out positive stats for what might have happened.
Notes: Not exactly what we have come to expect from Jaime Garcia in this one. The biggest issue was four walks, as the Rockies didn’t hit him with any authority. In fact, Colorado didn’t have a single extra-base hit on the night. But when you mix four walks with five singles in five innings, chances are you aren’t coming away unscathed. It wasn’t a terrible outing, but Garcia just wasn’t his normal sharp self and it doesn’t take much from that deviation for things to haunt you.
The Cards had all of three hits until the seventh, when they scored their run. Chad Bettis has had some decent games, but that was one of his best on the season, so where the credit/blame ratio falls is up to you. Of course, the Rockies are over .500, which seems to be the shut-off valve for the Cardinal offense. Too bad they didn’t come into town a game under .500, THEN the bats could have done some damage.
The top four hitters in the lineup combined to go 0-15, with only a walk by Matt Adams showing any positive results. It’s pretty tough to win a game when the best hitters, at least by lineup position, are so quiet.
Wednesday (2-0 win)
Hero: Adam Wainwright. As you know, we’ve done a lot of comparing in this space of Wainwright’s season to his 2012 season, when again he was coming off a long layoff. I noted on Twitter before the game last night that in Waino’s ninth start of ’12, he threw a complete game shutout against the San Diego Padres, which seemed to be a significant turning point for him. From that game to the rest of the season, Wainwright had a 3.43 ERA, two full runs lower than the ERA that he had going into it.
Last night was Wainwright’s ninth start of 2016 and the comparisons stayed strong. He couldn’t go the distance, but he did go 6.2 innings, his longest outing of the year, and allowed nothing to the Rockies. To be fair, the goose egg was intact in part because the Rockies ran themselves out of a leadoff triple in the first, but it wasn’t all smoke and mirrors, not at all. Wainwright struck out five–as we know, strikeouts have been an issue–and walked just one. Afterwards, Wainwright said that he was “dangerous again” and while I’m not quite ready to take the man at his word–he’s had some similar pronouncements during the season–I think it’s much more likely that he’s correct this time than I have before. Wainwright will go next against the Cubs, so I sure hope he’s right!
Goat: Tough night for some of the middle of the order this time. I’ll go with Brandon Moss here, who went 0-4 and struck out twice. Randal Grichuk went 0-3 with a walk and Yadier Molina went 0-4 as well, but Molina gets a pass given his historical night.
Notes: Stephen Piscotty went 3-4 and Matt Holliday drove in the only runs with a scorching double down the line. The offense still couldn’t do much against Chris Rusin, but thankfully the Good Wainwright showed up and it didn’t have to. Aledmys Diaz had another couple of hits, though he also made yet another error that wound up not hurting the club, though you could make the argument that the extra pitches Wainwright had to throw that inning kept him from finishing the seventh.
Molina passed Ted Simmons for most innings caught by a St. Louis Cardinals catcher and it was fitting that he did so with Waino on the hill, given that their 191 starts together is only second to Bob Gibson and Tim McCarver (I think). Molina is at 12,339 now and isn’t showing signs of slowing down. Besides the rest of this year, you have to figure Molina has at least 2-3 more years behind the plate, right? He’s going to put that record so far out of reach nobody will ever touch it. Finding someone to start catching in the bigs as young as he did and be as durable and active as he has been would be a remarkable find.
Jon Gray goes tonight against the Cardinals for the first time. I still don’t think that’s been as big of a deal this year as it has been in years past, but given that the Rockies are still above .500, it might play into another quiet offensive outing.
Michael Wacha will take the mound against the Rockies, but that’s not been a good thing for him in the past.
Wacha has faced Colorado three times in his career, two of those coming in Coors Field. One of those was in 2013, when he allowed 12 hits and four runs in 4.2 innings (but hey, he struck out seven). His one outing against them in Busch came in 2015, when he threw seven scoreless innings and allowed just four hits. I’d say the altitude makes a difference for him and hopefully we’ll see more like what he did last year tonight!