Another Solid Start Wasted, Royals Leave St. Louis With Series Win, Cards Fall 5-2 In Extras
Michael Wacha was in complete control this afternoon, mixing in all his repertoire.
Unfortunately for Wacha, the offense wouldn’t necessarily have his back, getting shutout over the last five innings from the, below average, Royals pen.
Wacha made quick work in the top of the 1st, retiring the Royals in order on 8 pitches.
Carpenter made a nice play on the games leadoff batter, Jon Jay, snagging a liner.
Wacha only made one mistake, leading off the top of the 2nd against Salvador Perez. Perez got a first pitch fastball and sent it to LF for a solo HR, putting the Royals on top 1-0. Wacha displayed good offspeed stuff, getting back-to-back strikeouts of Soler and Gordon, Soler on a low changeup and Gordon on a curveball.
The Cardinals would regain the lead in the bottom of the 2nd, scoring two runs.
O’Neill, who was a late addition to the lineup for the oversleeping Swags Ozuna, led the inning off with a single to LF. Trap House Gyorko then doubled to RF, putting runners in scoring position with nobody out. Bader got the Cardinals on the board with an RBI groundout to Escobar at SS. After Muñoz struck out looking, which wasn’t a rarity today because Junis was absolutely filthy, particularly the slider, Francisco Peña roped an RBI double down the LF line. Peña has been holding his own during the absence of Yadi, taking foul ball after foul ball, calling good games, and bringing some lumber, you gotta love that admiration from a backup.
After giving up the solo shot to Perez, Wacha would settle in, retiring 11 Royals in-a-row.
Wacha would end the 3rd with back-to-back strikeouts of Junis and Jay.
Junis really impressed me today, I think it was the slider because I have a weakness for a good slider. But if there’s one positive for the Royals, it has to be him.
Junis started his 3rd inning with back-to-back strikeouts, both looking, of Pham and Carp.
The Cardinals 1 through 3 hitters were a combined (1-12, with 8 strikeouts, 2 walks, and an infield single from Cafecíto) aka not a recipe for success.
The Royals tied things at 2-2 in the top of the 6th, taking advantage of a Tyler O’Neill fielding error. Almonte would pinch-hit for Junis to lead off the inning, hitting a single to LF and advancing to second on the O’Neill misplay. Jay sacrificed him to third and Merrifield cashed in with a sac-fly to Pham, scoring Almonte.
This is when I promptly tweeted: “the Kansas City Royals bullpen cannot win this baseball game.”
Then look what happened, jokes on me, stupid me. The bullpen was perfect, but so was the defense, which I’m not going to just brush under the rug. The Royals defense made three spectacular plays behind their bullpen this afternoon, two in the same inning.
The first was in the bottom of the 7th with Peña batting. Peña hit a rocket (108 mph), tailing towards the LF line, only to meet the glove of the diving Alex Gordon. This was one of, if not the best catches I’ve seen this year.
The next two coming in the bottom of the 9th, with the Cardinals trying to score a run to walk-off in fashion. But Escobar and Moustakas had different plans, both making gems of plays to rob Trap House and Bader.
Jordan Hicks looked the best he’s looked all season today, especially the slider. I don’t recall watching him throw this many sliders in such a short appearance (7 pitches). Hicks earned back-to-back strikeouts on the slider against Butera and Dozier (pinch-hitter).
The front door slider to Dozier is the one that takes the cake though, I mean, wow!
Matheny turned to his closer, Bud Norris, with things squared at 2 in the 9th. Which, was the right move at the time, it just wasn’t the right move leaving him in for the 10th.
Or maybe Hicks should’ve pitched one more inning since he only threw 7 pitches.
I don’t think Norris should’ve been a asked to work a second inning, but what do I know? I just write these game recaps. Anyway you look at it, hindsight is 20/20.
Norris did his part in the 9th, getting the heart of the Royals lineup in order, striking out Moustakas and Perez to end the inning.
Things didn’t go as smoothly for Norris his second inning of work. Exceeding the 30 pitch mark at 32. We all know how this one ends, so let’s just leave it at that, Norris took the loss and the Royals came to Busch and left with a series win. Kind of disappointing, no, really disappointing.
The Cardinals (26-21) have a much needed day off tomorrow, as we all should take time and enjoy it, before traveling to Pittsburgh for a weekend series with the Pirates (27-21). It’s a big six-game road trip ahead for the Cardinals, as they travel to Milwaukee after the Pirates series.
John Gant (1-1, 4.67) will kick the series off against Joe Musgrove, making his 2018 debut.
First pitch 6:05 c/t.
Thanks for reading, cheers!
Game 47 is 'in the books'
by Stew // @StewStilez