The Cardinals have stormed out to an early lead over the Pirates in Game 1 of the NLDS.
Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett completely melted down in the bottom of the third inning, giving up seven runs before being pulled from the ballgame. He failed to record an out in the nightmare frame.
The ugly inning started with a leadoff walk to Adam Wainwright and a single from Matt Carpenter, which set up a long three-run homer from Carlos Beltran which landed in the second deck inside the right field foul pole. Burnett then gave up a double to Matt Holliday and hit Matt Adams with a pitch before walking Yadier Molina and Jon Jay to force in a run. David Freese followed with a single down the right field line to score two more runs while a third run scored on a throwing error by Marlon Byrd. That was enough for Clint Hurdle to finally bring the hook.
According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the seven runs scored by the Cardinals are an NLDS record for an inning. It might be time to start thinking ahead to Game 2.
As for Beltran, his postseason excellence continues. He now has 15 home runs in 153 plate appearances in the postseason, tying him with Babe Ruth for eighth all-time. As our own Matthew Pouliot points out, his 1.275 OPS is the best all-time among players with at least 100 plate appearances. You can watch the video of his third-inning blast below:
Meanwhile, Wainwright has been brilliant on the mound for the Cardinals. He has sat down all nine batters he has faced while striking out three. The Cardinals lead it 7-0 as we move to the top of the fourth inning.
Cardinal closer Trevor Rosenthal was taken out of last night’s game against the Red Sox after he gave up a big homer and a walk. He velocity was down as well, and Mike Mathney said after the game that he didn’t look right. Now the Cardinals are going to take a closer look at him, and he’ll be examined today for what is being described as “tightness” in his right arm.
Rosenthal is 3-4 with a 3.40 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 76/20 in 47.2 innings. He has 11 saves after regaining the closer’s job from Seung Hwan Oh. Now some combination of Oh, Tyler Lyons, and John Brebbia will fill in for Rosenthal to the extent he needs to miss time.
Aaron Judge hit a monster home run in last night’s win over the Mets, but he also set a dubious record. Judge struck out for the 33rd consecutive game, setting a new mark for a position player in a single season.
Yes, that’s qualified. No pitchers, of course, as I assume many of them have struck out in more than 33 straight games. Also, Adam Dunn once struck out in 36 straight games, but that straddled two seasons: he struck out in the final four games of 2011 and the first 32 games of 2012. Still, Judge’s feat is impressive, and given the nature of his game and the state of baseball these days, it’s not hard to imagine him striking out in three or four more straight games anyway.
None of which, by the way, should be all that much of a slight on Judge. The guy is still hitting .291/.420/.614, even with his second half slump. If I was a manager I’d happily accept his whiffs in exchange for everything else he brings to the table. It’s not 1959 anymore, and strikeouts are not the worst thing that can happen.