Cardinals starter Lance Lynn left after facing one batter in the top of the eighth inning, as he injured his right ankle making a throw on what turned out to be an infield single for Giants pinch-hitter Juan Perez. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted that Lynn’s ankle “folded like origami” attempting to make the throw to first base. Fortunately, Lynn was able to walk off the field under his own power.
Lynn entered the inning having shut the Giants out over seven innings on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He was relieved by Randy Choate, who struck out Nori Aoki before giving way to Seth Maness. Maness maintained the Cardinals’ 4-0 lead by inducing a 6-4-3 double play out of Matt Duffy. The Cardinals would tack on two more runs to put the game further out of reach.
Lynn, 28, has a 2.80 ERA with a 148/53 K/BB ratio in 147 2/3 innings this season. We should learn more about his condition later this evening.
Nationals 8, Yankees 6: Down by four after four and a half innings, the Nats chipped back and then won the whole dang thing on a Ryan Zimmerman two-run walkoff homer in the tenth inning. Bryce Harper homered too. It was his 15th, which leads the NL. Washington is now 13-4 in May and are tied for first place in the NL East. So much for all of that April hand-wringing.
Cardinals 10, Mets 2: Not gonna say that this was a laugher, but Cardinals lefty specialist Randy Choate actually had a plate appearance here. Drew a walk! The guy has played for 15 years. This was just his sixth plate appearance ever — his first since 2004 — and the first time he has ever reached base. I wonder if anyone gave him a GPS in order to find first. Randy Grichuk drove in three and every Cardinals starter had a hit except for Matt Holliday.
Diamondbacks 4, Marlins 2: A.J. Pollock hit a pinch-hit, tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth. The righty Pollock hit it off of lefty Mike Dunn. Chip Hale said after the game that Pollock would not have been used as a pinch hitter if the Marlins had a righty up in the pen, ready to bring in to face Pollock:
“We were watching the pen real carefully and there was no righty up at the time,” Hale said. “That was the only way I was going to use him for Peralta. If there had been a righty up I probably wouldn’t have done it.”
After the game, new Marlins manager Dan Jennings said that he had his lefty face Pollock because he “went with the gut feeling.” That gut, at that point in time, had less than two full games’ managerial experience in it.
Twins 8, Pirates 5: A lot of weird things here. Like, in the second, Joe Mauer came up with the bases loaded and poked a single through the left side. Just a weak rolling grounder hit the opposite way. And it cleared the dang bases:
Clint Hurdle’s comments about that play after the game were harsh, but fair:
Oh, and Pedro Alvarez hit a home run into the Allegheny River on the fly. And it landed in a boat. For real:
Angels 3, Blue Jays 2: Hector Santiago has started eight games this year. In six of them, this one included, he has allowed one earned run or fewer. Not too shabby. Especially given how well the Blue Jays have hit left-handers this year.
Brewers 8, Tigers 1: Six runs in the third inning for the Brewers, thanks in part to back-to-back-to-back homers from Ryan Braun, Adam Lind and Aramis Ramirez. Note: you can hit back-to-back-to-back homers, but three guys can’t stand back-to-back-to-back. Physically impossible. Baseball is a funny game.
Orioles 9, Mariners 4: Jimmy Paredes homered and drove in four. Paredes has reached base in 20 straight games. His big game came at a good time too, as last year’s DH, Nelson Cruz, was in town. He homered, but the local fans had no reason to long for him last night.
Red Sox 4, Rangers 3: The otherwise slumping Mike Napoli went 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI. David Ortiz homered too and Wade Miley pitched well (7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 7K), which hasn’t happened too often lately.
Indians 3, White Sox 1: Trevor Bauer snapped the White Sox’ winning streak by pitching one-run ball into the eighth and striking out seven. He has made three starts against Chicago this year and has owned them completely.
Royals 3, Reds 0: Yordano Ventura, Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis combined for a four-hit shutout. This after the Royals shut out their last opponent, the Yankees, on Sunday. Johnny Cueto took the loss and is now 3-4. He has received a total of two runs of support in those four losses. He’s probably going to be dealt at the deadline. I’m guessing he can’t wait.
Astros 6, Athletics 4: Chris Carter and Colby Rasmus each hit two-run homers. Houston has the best record in the American League and Oakland has lost five of six.
Rockies 6, Phillies 5: Philly’s six-game winning streak is over, as Nick Hundley hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth. The Rockies, despite the win, struck out ten times. That’s the seventh straight game in which they’ve done that. According to the gamer, that’s one shy of the record, currently held by the 2011 San Diego Padres.
Padres 4, Cubs 3: James Shields got a no-decision, but he struck out 11 while allowing two runs in seven innings, outdueling Jason Hammel. Derek Norris hit a two-run double in the eighth to break a tie. Former University of San Diego player Kris Bryant made his return to town and went 1-for4.
Giants 2, Dodgers 0: Six and a third shutout innings for Tim Hudson as the Giants win their fourth in a row. They’re three and a half back in the west. Which is fairly interesting.
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch writes that he’s “been told a few times” the Cardinals will pursue reliever Andrew Miller in free agency.
Trying to upgrade over the likes of Randy Choate as late-inning southpaw bullpen options makes sense, but Miller is much more than a left-handed specialist and ranks among the elite relievers in baseball. In other words, he’s going to cost a ton.
This season Miller threw 62 innings with a 2.02 ERA and 103/17 K/BB ratio while holding opponents to a .153 batting average and .456 OPS. And he has the dominant raw stuff to match those great numbers.
The Cardinals gave Randy Choate a three-year, $7.5 million contract in December of 2012 to be their left-handed specialist, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatchreports that the club “will look to move” him this offseason.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak indicated as much in his comments to the media today, during which he said Choate was “very specialized” and that it was difficult to give him proper work during the season.
“I think we both feel that if we can upgrade there or have an additional arm to choose from, that makes sense,” Mozeliak said. “We’re certainly not ruling out Siegrist. I think in Choate’s case, for us, he’s fairly one-dimensional. That makes it difficult for us to use him, particularly during a long season.”
Choate posted a 4.50 ERA over 61 appearances this season, but he held left-handed batters to an .093/.205/.147 batting line. The 39-year-old clearly has value, but it will be interesting to see who will be willing to pay $3 million to someone who has averaged just 36 innings over the past six seasons.
“I realize that I put him in a real tough spot… Just a tough spot for him to be in. Not the spot we wanted him to be in.”
Mike Matheny decided he was using Michael Wacha on Wednesday. That much was clear. He made mention of it before the game, indicating that Wacha was available in a different fashion than in previous games this postseason. With the Cardinals up 3-2, Matheny got Wacha up in the top of the seventh, readying him alongside lefty specialist Randy Choate in case Wainwright needed to come out.
Wainwright finished that inning, and with the one-run lead intact, Matheny followed his usual script and put in Pat Neshek to pitch the eighth. Wacha got up again that inning after Neshek allowed a leadoff homer to Michael Morse, tying the game.
When the bottom of the ninth rolled around, Wacha was ready again. At this point, Matheny had to know it was use him or lose him. Wacha hadn’t pitched since Sept. 26. He hadn’t made a relief appearance all year. He didn’t have his usual stuff in September after missing 2 1/2 months with a shoulder injury, which is why he wasn’t included in the postseason rotation. There was no way Matheny wanted to bypass Wacha now and then risk injuring him by using him in the 12th or 13th inning of a tie game with the rest of his bullpen exhausted. So, Matheny made the call. Four batters later, the Giants were 6-3 winners.
Obviously, it was a bad call. Not a bad call in hindsight… a bad call at the very moment Matheny sent him to the mound. If Matheny thought Wacha was the right person to pitch in a tie game in the bottom of the ninth with elimination one mistake away… well, then there’s no doubt Wacha would have been on the mound at some point in the previous eight postseason games.
It might have worked out anyway. Wacha arrived on the mound with his best velocity of the year. He hit 98 mph on the FS1 gun. But he was rusty. He didn’t have time to find his command or his changeup. He was exactly the guy he should have been having sat for three weeks.
Matheny will survive the Cardinals’ loss. In three years at the helm, he’s guided the team to a 275-211 record, a World Series and a second NLCS. And given that the Cardinals lost their best player, Yadier Molina, in Game 2 of the series against the Giants, there’s a ready excuse for dropping the series, not that any excuse for losing a best-of-seven series should ever be needed. Still, it’ll be a long time before anyone forgets the Wacha move, and a couple of his Game 4 choices weren’t much better. The losses in the last three games of the series went to the last three pitchers on the staff (Randy Choate, Marco Gonzales and now Wacha). His decision to pinch-run Daniel Descalso in the ninth tonight only after Matt Adams got to second base might have cost the team the go-ahead run. It’s not nearly all on Matheny; the Cardinals were outplayed by the Giants. But there wasn’t any bigger mismatch on the diamond than the mismatch that was Matheny versus Bruce Bochy.