UPDATE: While Adam Wainwright lost the no-hitter in the eighth inning, he settled for a two-hit shutout as part of a 3-0 victory over the Rockies.
Wainwright allowed two hits and one walk while striking out seven. It was the sixth shutout of his career and his 12th complete game. The 31-year-old right-hander now has an excellent 2.30 ERA and 55/4 K/BB ratio in 58 2/3 innings over eight starts this season.
Jamie Garcia will be on the hill tomorrow as the Cardinals try for the sweep. Shelby Miller and Wainwright have set the bar pretty high.
4:30 PM: Adam Wainwright’s no-hit bid is over.
After Matt Carpenter made an excellent diving play to rob Todd Helton of a hit for the first out in the top of the eighth inning, Nolan Arenado dumped a clean single into left-center field. It ended an 0-for-50 streak for the Rockies dating back to Eric Young, Jr’s leadoff single in the first inning last night.
4:13 PM ET: After Shelby Miller sat down the final 27 batters he faced following a leadoff single last night, his teammate Adam Wainwright is working on some history against the Rockies.
Wainwright hasn’t allowed a hit over his first seven innings this afternoon at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The Cardinals currently hold a 2-0 lead.
Wainwright retired the first 13 batters he faced until Todd Helton drew a walk with one out in the fifth inning. In fact, it was the Rockies’ first baserunner in 40 plate appearances dating back to last night. But that’s all they have been able to muster so far this afternoon. Wainwright has seven strikeouts and has thrown 68 out of 92 pitches for strikes.
Wainwright is due to face Todd Helton, Nolan Arenado and Reid Brignac in the top of the eighth inning. Stay tuned to see if he can finish the job.
The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.
In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.
The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.
Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”
It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.
It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.