Expectations — we all have them, especially when it comes to St. Louis Cardinals baseball. An Adam Wainwright start? A rematch of the two starters from April 13 (which was one mighty impressive performance by Waino)? Yovani Gallardo and his 1-11 record/6.86 career ERA against the Cards?
The expectation was that our first inning for the United Cardinal Bloggers progressive game blog was going to be very simple to write.
The Cards would come out slugging against Gallardo, because that’s what they do. The Brewers would go down one-two-three against Wainwright because that’s what they do.
Baseball. You never can predict it, damn it. (Except when it comes to the Cubs — but that’s for another day.)
Matt Carpenter and his 3-for-7-.429 batting average against Gallardo stepped in to lead off as FOX’s scouting report told us Yovani just needed to forget what team he was pitching against. And, for this inning, he did. Carpenter hit the third pitch directly to center fielder Carlos Gomez — so straight at him that Gomez didn’t even have to move.
The newly scruffy Carlos Beltran showed no signs of the .400 career average against Gallardo this time, bouncing the second pitch right to first baseman Alex Gonzalez. (Wait, which Alex Gonzalez is this? Oh, it’s not the one who was the real culprit in Game Six of the 2003 NLCS with his error that the guy who was sitting down the left field line is forever being blamed for? It’s the former Marlin? Okay.)
Five pitches, two outs — against Yovani Gallardo.
Following the requisite, and wonderful, replay of Matt Holliday’s homer off the Brewers scoreboard from last night, he takes three pitches from Gallardo — two balls and a strike — before grounding it to Rickie Weeks for the 4-3 putout.
Has Yovani Gallardo ever thrown nine pitches for three outs against the Cardinals before?
As the bottom of the first began, we were treated to a nice recitation of Adam Wainwright’s terrific numbers thus far in 2013 and FOX’s scouting report concluded that he needs to pretend it’s April 13. (There’s not a tremendous depth to these FOX scouting reports, is there?)
By Waino’s second pitch to Norichika Aoki, however, we could see this was not April 13 — Aoki singled up the middle.
And then Jean Segura did what no one has done yet in 2013: hit a homer off Waino — which meant we had to see that damn Bernie Brewer go down the slide, because of course FOX would have to show it.
Thankfully, Ryan Braun kept Cardinals fans entertained with his failure, as he is so very good at doing. He looked awful striking out, which is his 14th career K against Wainwright and his 29th strikeout of 2013.
Yuniesky Betancourt, however, forgot he was only 1 for 8 against Wainwright and insisted on singling to left field.
Just like Ryan Braun coming into his at-bat, Rickie Weeks also had been a Waino strikeout victim 13 previous times. And, proving he just wants to be like Braun, Weeks was called out on strikes for the second out.
Of course Carlos Gomez hadn’t had much success against Wainwright previously — and he looked happily foolish almost falling over as he swung at the curveball Waino delivered first. After a called strike, Gomez launched a bullet into right field.
And thank you, FOX — Wainwright allowed four hits total on April 13. Gomez, of course, had the fourth hit of the inning.
Know what else FOX informed us? Waino allowed five hits each in his previous two starts — and then catcher Martin Maldonado, after a long 2-2 at-bat, broke his bat and hit it softly between first and second. Allen Craig hustled to field it, Wainwright scrambled to cover first, and both Waino and Maldonado reached the base at the same time. Safe. Five hits. Bases loaded.
Can we blame FOX?
Alex Gonzalez grounded the 27th pitch of the inning toward short, where Pete Kozma fielded it on the grass and threw to second to get Maldonado. It was a terrific play, and a nice way to get out of a very long and very un-Wainwright-like inning.
Hopefully that will bring some positive momentum to the Cardinals going into the second inning — wouldn’t that be great? You can read about the second inning from Kevin at STL Cards ‘N Stuff here. Then read about the rest of the game through the United Cardinal Bloggers members listed here.
Christine Coleman is the lead St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.