There are calls in baseball, which in my opinion, can change the momentum of a team, the complexity of the game. In the third inning in last night's game against the San Francisco Giants still no runs on the board. Giants Matt Moore had two outs on the board with one runner on. St. Louis Cardinals rookie Aledmys Diaz sent a infield single to shortstop, throw to first and called safe. Corners covered on the bags.
Rookie Aledmys Diaz single, safe at first, call challenged
Giants manager Bruce Bochy challenged the call. After review, the call was overturned leaving one runner stranded. I do feel that such calls can diminish a team's momentum - at least momentarily. Or, such action can fire a team up to extraordinary determination. I would like to think the latter was the case for the Cardinals since they were handed a loss in Game One. But, when all said and done, the Cardinals came up short.
PETER PRINCIPLE HITS THE CARDINALS
What was to transpire in the bottom of the third, Cardinals rookie Luke Weaver on the mound, had not been seen in a game by a Cardinals starter since September 26, 1979. Weaver, who had taken down the side in his first two innings, would not be as efficient in his third. One out on the board, he issued his first of two walks to Denard Span. Matt Moore bunts, Yadier Molina makes a high throw to second just over the glove of a leaping SS Diaz. Molina is charged with an error. The next six runs, last one called out at the plate only to be overturned, were all unearned. The last to have pitched in only 2.2 innings, was Cardinals starter Silvio Martinez with seven unearned runs 37 years ago against the Philadelphia Phillies, for a Cardinals 11-5 loss. Errors are made, some more obvious than others. It is up to the discretion of the scorer to decide. For Molina, there was no question in the decision. Weaver was retired with his 2.2 IP/6 UER/2-BB/4 SO. Miguel Socolovich followed and Moore back at the plate. He got the third out with Moore swinging.
Molina found some redemption facing LHP Matt Moore. With two runners on, he connected for a RBI single. That was the only chip in the Giants lead as Moore went on to retired the next three Cardinals to close his fourth inning.
Manager Mike Matheny's next decision is the prime reason many Cardinals fans have no faith in his bullpen choices during a game. The main reason many question his managerial capabilities.
Matheny did not hold with Socolovich, Jaime Garcia followed in the fourth. A starter for the Cardinals, he had been placed in the bullpen this week, as rookie Alex Reyes will take his start this Sunday in the final game against the Giants. Of late, J Garcia has been struggling at best. In September alone, three starts, 6 IP/3.2 IP/1.2 IP respectively, giving up 3 HR/9 ER on 16 hits, issuing seven walks along with 13 strikeouts for a 7.43 ERA. Last night, his first of two innings pitched, he held true to his performances this month. He issued a walk, had one out on the board; and, Buster Posey stung him for a two-run homer out left-center to give the Giants eight runs on the board. Garcia was left in for a second inning. He would go on to issue one more walk; but, would retire the next three batters to face him in the fifth for five strikeouts for his two innings pitched. He closed with a 9.00 ERA for his first relief appearance in 2016. However, Cardinals fans will remember, more damage done.
Moore sees his own demise in the fifth. Unfortunately not six runs for the Cardinals; but, allows one more run. He has two outs on the board while allowing two hits; and, issues a walk to load the bases. He issues yet another walk to Molina for a RBI walk-in run before he gets his third out with Jhonny Peralta's fly out.
Moore was retired with five innings pitched, two earned runs, three walks and four strikeouts for his fourth win with the Giants. He's 11-11 for his season. He was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays at the trade deadline. This would be his second win at AT&T Park.
Cardinals Trevor Rosenthal was activated from the 15-Day DL (shoulder/forearm strain) prior to last night's game. The former closer for the Cardinals had not pitched since July 24, holding a 5.13 ERA. He was called for the seventh inning. Once again, Cardinals fans with memories like a steel trap. He begins his return with a 0.00 ERA with 2-K's and a ground out for his one inning pitched.
Unfortunately, some Cardinals fans will hold his performance in question and will contend his next relief appearance won't be as good. In my opinion, since Rosenthal himself has delayed his own return due to some slight imperfections, he is going to be just fine and welcomed arm out of the bullpen. Cardinals current closer, Seung Hwan Oh, not listed on the Day-to-Day DL with a groin issue; but, has not pitched since September 9.
The Giants take the second game, 8-2, of this four game series, holding a 2-0 series lead. Moore earning his fourth win, handing Weaver his third loss. With another loss for St. Louis, this places the Cardinals further behind the the NL Wild Card race.
Have the Cardinals imploded? Will they be able to right the train wreck? Even being told I wear rose-colored glasses and some other explicit descriptions, I still believe they have enough fire in them that they have sights to succeed into postseason. And, I don't feel I'm alone in my belief. I just happen to be one of those that looks at a glass as half "full", not empty.
GAME THREE ~ FIRST PITCH AT 8:05 CST
Cardinals Mike Leake (9-10/4.60 ERA) will face Giants Jeff Samardzija (11-10/4.07 ERA). Leake is 7-4/4.56 ERA on the road. He has held lefties to a .267 average; but, coming from the right he's given up a .302. The last he pitched at AT&T Park was in 2014. He went 8 IP/1 ER with 12 SO. Giants past hitting history, a .325 average. Samardzija is 5-5/3.76 at home. He's held lefties to a .270 average, from the right, a .230. However, past history by the Cardinals, they have hit him with a .306. Even though, his last stand against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium this season, he went 5 IP/4 HR/6 ER/2 SO. His last stand at home, he gave up 1 HR/4 ER on eight hits with six strikeouts for his six frames pitched against the San Diego Padres to hand the Giants a 4-0 shutout loss. Leake, also, was handed a loss his last outing, 6 IP/2 HR, four runs with three earned on six hits. This will be Leake's third start since returning (September 7) from the 15-Day DL (Shingles-August 22).