Monday, April 10, 2017

A Fine Day For A Trip To The Ballpark

Out of the blue last week my dad asked if I wanted to go to a Cardinals' game. After much struggling on his part getting the tickets bought, we headed out on Saturday. The weather was excellent, the traffic wasn't too bad. We wound up sitting a level closer to the field than we have in the last few games we attended. More critically, the people around us weren't constantly getting up all through the game, in contrast to our experience last summer.

The Cardinals beat the crap out of the Reds, which was nice. Nothing against the Reds, just nice to see a win, especially with the Cardinals on a three-game losing streak going into the game. Michael Wacha started, which was cause for concern. Wacha got consistently battered last season, and was effectively useless the last two months of the 2015 season. He's probably only in the rotation because Alex Reyes had Tommy John surgery at the start of Spring Training. But outside of a rough three-batter stretch in the 4th inning, where Wacha got the ball up and each batter made solid contact, he cruised. Even Matt Adams badly misplaying a ball in the second inning, netting Zach Cozart a triple, didn't come back to bite him.

But Matt Adams in left field, yeesh. The general manager said at the end of last season the team needed to focus on shoring up their defense, which was shit last year. Signing Dexter Fowler and moving Randal Grichuk to left was meant to be a move in that direction. But with Stephen Piscotty out, and Grichuk moved to right field, Incompetent Boob Manager Mike Matheny is playing Matt Adams in left. Keep in mind Adams has only played at first base since he reached the majors in 2012, and Matheny has been his manager that entire time, and should therefore, you know, remember that. And he has a backup outfielder on the team, Jose Martinez, but no, play the converted first baseman in the outfield.

As if keeping up with the Cubs wasn't going to be hard enough, the Cards handicap themselves with this dumbass manager.

On the plus side of the ledger, the Reds trotted out Bronson Arroyo and his 85 mph fastball to start. And Aledmys Diaz was the second batter to face him and put one over the fence. Then did it again in the 4th, with two men on, in almost the exact same place. There was one sequence that was pretty funny, when Grichuk lead off the 4th and ultimately struck out. Arroyo kept throwing pitches either in the mid-80s or mid-70s, and Grichuk was out in front of ever single one. It was like he thought Arroyo could rear back and throw 95 and kept expecting him to do it.

Anyway, Arroyo lasted 4 innings, and then was pinch hit for by another pitcher, which was curious. Brandon Finnegan hasn't distinguished himself as a hitter, but maybe the manager was determined to give some guys the day off, even from pinch-hitting. They brought in Robert Stephenson, who sounds like a random player generated by a video game, and he proceeded to walk 6 batters in less than two innings. The Cards let him off the hook in the 5th, but were able to scrape together a few hits in the 6th among the walks to drive in 3 more runs. After that, Wandy Peralta came in and got the Reds through the 7th unscathed, but Drew Storen gave up another run in the 8th.

Being up 9-1 by the end of the 6th allowed the Cardinals to sub out a lot of their starters, which means Molina actually got some rest. Probably won't happen again for two months. Greg Garcia got to play, which was fine with me. I'd like for him to get more playing time, given his defensive versatility and ability to get on base. Adams was blessedly subbed out by the 6th for Jose Martinez. Matheny, not content to be outdone in curious pinch-hitting choices, used pitcher Adam Wainwright in the 8th, who got a single off Storen and scored the team's final run. At least Wainwright hit very well last year (he had 7 doubles, a triple, and 2 home runs), although Jhonny Peralta was presumably still an option off the bench. I like watching pitchers at least try to hit, so it was fun. The DH concept can burn in hell.

Matt Bowman pitched an efficient 7th, Jonathon Broxton threw nothing but fastballs in the 8th and gave up a two-run home run. Which meant I had to make some cracks about "Pork n' Beans" Broxton, except I forgot I gave that name to him as his 1930s ballplayer nickname, not as a hobo nickname. Plus my dad I thought I was implying Broxton was Southern by saying he'd have to sit downwind of the barrel fire that evening. I don't know.

My botching my own joke aside, it was a lovely day all around.

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