This recap sponsored by the makers of Gritty the creepy NHL mascot who looks like a Muppet off his ADHD meds and hasn't registered with the local police yet. If Gritty wasn't enough to make you cringe, then Jose Martinez and home plate umpire Lance Barksdale have got you covered.
Kudos to Craig Counsell for his impressive display of gamesmanship surpassed only by his obvious desire to abuse his bullpen. For reasons truly known only to Counsell and his Illuminati cohorts, he chose to start the game with Dan Jennings who literally had one job. He needed 3 pitches to get Matt Carpenter to ground out, and that's when things got weird. Counsell replaced Jennings with Freddy Peralta who needed just 3 pitches to finish the inning despite facing the incredibly selective Jose Martinez and keen batting eye of Paul DeJong.
After Jack Flaherty struck out Travis Shaw swinging, he appeared to be settled in all of 90 seconds before giving up a no-doubter to former systematic PED user and coverup artist Ryan Braun. 1-0 evil Milwaukee team with former face of the franchise PED user.
Ozuna started the Cardinals half of the 2nd inning with a lengthy 1-pitch battle against Peralta that ended with a popup to right. Gyorko showed slightly more resistance in a 5-pitch strikeout, but it was perhaps the 11-pitch at-bat by Yadier Molina that put the breaks on a combined Maddux.
Flaherty appeared to finally find cruise control during the top of the 3rd, and Carpenter tied the game up in the bottom of the inning with what looked like a potential go-ahead home run if not for the Mississippi marine layer effect.
Peralta and Flaherty settled in and matched each either pitch-by-pitch, and both looked solid until the Brewers loosened the lugnuts during their half of the 5th thanks in part to an 11 pitch at-bat by Moustakas. J-Flare needed roughly 170 pitches to get through the inning, although it was probably more like 25.
Counsell brought some guy none of us ever heard of to pitch the bottom of the 5th, and it turns out he was just the "opener" for Josh Hader. He put down Carpenter, and that's the moment I should've turned off the television and gone for a drive in the garage.
The top of the 6th went groundout, walk, hit-by-pitch, and walk from Flaherty who was at least 30 pitches beyond his expiration by the time he was pulled. As soon as Danny Mac mentioned Flaherty losing the snap on his breaking pitches, it was time to go to the bullpen. Mike Shildt arrived at basically the same conclusion but with the added impediment of needing time to get someone warm.
Unfortunately, that someone was Dakota Hudson who owns the worst walks-per-9 ratio of anyone on the team not named Brett Cecil. Shockingly, Hudson walked Ryan Braun (former NL MVP and the same guy who lied about taking PEDs) on four straight. By the time he closed out the inning, the Brewers had scored twice without a single base hit. The awesome had reached Ty Wigginton levels.
Then the Cardinals were blessed with three miracles. Jose Martinez took Hader deep on a 2-0 pitch, Paul DeJong walked for only the second time in his career, and Marcell Ozuna hit a home run with an actual runner on base. The Cardinals finished the 2nd third of the game with a 4-3 lead and a 70% win probability in hand.
Enter Jordan Hicks accompanied by a lot of non-competitive pitches and pitches on the fringe that may or may not have been strikes for someone other than Lance Barksdale. Barksdale was a little rough around the edges the entire game, but he went "Roseanne singing the National Anthem" bad around the time that Hicks entered. Despite giving up the lead, there were plenty of reasons for false hope entering the home halof of the 7th.
Counsell brought in Xavier Cedeno (yes, he's a real person, and yes, I looked it up) for the sole purpose of facing Carpenter. It worked, and someone alleging to be "Corbin Burnes" which definitely sounds like an alias for someone in witness protection relieved Cedeno. The highlight of the Corbin Burnes Experience was a backwards K for Paul DeJong who almost never strikes out looking.
Bud Norris started the 8th inning with a strikeout of Travis Shaw, but then Jose Martinez aggressively played a single into a triple for Eric Thames. While I applaud the effort, discretion truly is the better part of valor, and the mistake pushed the win expectancy for the Brewers from 45% to 63%. After an intentional walk to Moustakas, the wheels finally detached from the struggle bus completely as Bud Norris attempted to heave a pickoff throw into the Budweiser Terrace, and Thames crawled home. 5-4 in favor of the team that got Yelich instead of Ozuna simply because the Marlins sold off Ozuna first.
The rest of the game was simply too sloppy to be worth mentioning other than to say that Lance Barksdale just followed Chad Fairchild in earning a spot on the first SpaceX flight into the sun. Also, there was a rain delay and some weird phantom timeout call that helped the Brewers immensely too.
In a nutshell: Jose can't field, most of the bullpen can't throw strikes, and Lance Barksdale might be the most incompetent person on the planet who isn't the leader of a nation (looking at your Venezuela).