Oh, where to begin with last night’s Dodgers-Cardinals game?
Or should I say alleged game? For all I know, it could have been an elaborate hoax like a modern day version of “The War of the Worlds” since the game was only on the radio for many of us.
And perhaps I wouldn’t have gone to such dramatic lengths to find and keep up with the game were that contest not the one chosen for the annual United Cardinal Bloggers Progressive Game Blog — I had the first inning to recap, so knowing exactly when it started was obviously of prime importance. Here’s more on the UCB progressive blog, plus an intro for the game. This is the eighth year for the project, and the game chosen is traditionally one on FOX that’s available to all the bloggers involved regardless of where they live (since many of us don’t live in St. Louis).
Unfortunately, FOX did not cooperate with the UCB plan in choosing their games and who would see see what in their home market. That was the first glitch, as evidenced by the broadcast schedule from 506Sports.com.
Yes, lots of Cardinal red on that map — much of the U.S. would see the game. But I live in the Quad Cities, which is represented on the map above right on the border of Iowa and Illinois with the QC … in green. Yes, green for Royals and Cubs as my FOX game of the week. Because we didn’t have enough of those teams last Saturday, apparently.
Yet as game time approached, I discovered Mother Nature must be a Cardinals fan — the Royals and Cubs were rained out. Hooray! That had to mean I’d get the Dodgers-Cardinals game, right? There’d be no way I’d end up with the Red Sox-Rangers, not when that was being shown in so few markets.
Then we discovered Mother Nature must really be a Sawx fan, or perhaps a Josh Hamilton fan. Because she made it rain in St. Louis too. Enough that everyone got to see the start of the Sawx-Rangers. Not that I really paid attention …
I did check Twitter regularly. The Dodgers-Cards would start at 6:50 p.m.
No, wait, it’s raining.
They’re going to start at 7:35 p.m.
Oops, still raining.
Now they’ll start at 8:35 p.m. For real! We promise!
So, 2 hours and 20 minutes after the scheduled 6:15 p.m. start time, play actually began at Busch Stadium.
Except some of us — despite what our preference might be, despite what our geographical location may be, despite everything — still had the Sawx-Rangers game on our screens, even as Mike Shannon was describing the first pitch thrown by Michael Wacha on the radio (since I’d left the broadcast from the At-Bat app on after listening during the rain delays to find out just when the game would actually begin). Hey, awesome!!!*
*Not my actual words at the time
So neither Mother Nature nor FOX was a fan of the UCB Progressive Game Blog last night. Or they just wanted to make it a challenge after we’ve done it for a while. Which meant figuring out how one writes about the first inning of a game that one does not get to see.
The answer: by continuing to listen to Shannon and John Rooney.
I quickly discovered Shannon seemed unlike his usual jovial self and instead rather business-like in describing Michael Wacha facing the top of the Dodgers line-up. Too many frosty cold Budweisers during the 2 hours and 20 minutes waiting to begin?
Then again, Wacha himself was pretty business-like in setting down Joc Pederson on three pitches (I’ll bet the called third strike was great to see), striking out Adrian Gonzalez on four pitches and doing the same with Howie Kendrick on five pitches. The only non-K was an eight-pitch battle with Justin Turner that ended up in a walk.
And I’ll bet Wacha was this happy — or almost, anyway — as he left the mound throwing 20 pitches. Even though he now has longer hair and no post-season patch on his cap … but would have had the Saturday uniform on.
So now it was the bottom of the first and the Cards turn at the plate. Starting for the Dodgers was Carlos Frias, making his first career appearance against the Cardinals.
Up first, Kolten Wong, who personally I really like in the lead-off spot. He grounded the second pitch from Frias to second base, though Howie Kendrick misplayed it and Kolten reached first on the error. Here’s a look at the FOX broadcast at that moment from my television.
Next up, everyone’s favorite third baseman and the should-be starter for the National League All-Star team this year: Matt Carpenter. As in his lead-off days, he still made the pitcher work and, on the fourth pitch, he singled to right. Here’s how it looked for me:
Oh, hey, Sam Freeman! Good to see you! Good luck there in facing David Ortiz.
Up next on the radio was Matt Holliday, whose streak of reaching base to start the season was up to 43 at that moment. He was so quick in grounding the first pitch toward first base and Adrian Gonzalez that I didn’t even have a chance to get a lovely photo of Hanley Ramirez grounding into a double play (Ortiz had singled) off of Sam.
Jhonny Peralta had a good at-bat, though, battling against Frias to reach a 2-2 count. On the next pitch, Jhonny hit a soft grounder (so Shannon described it) toward Justin Turner at third, and he threw to Gonzalez at first for the out. Kolten scored on the play, which looked like this:
Next up: Randal Grichuk, batting fifth for the game. (He really gets around, doesn’t he? This afternoon he’s going to lead off — well, that what Jenifer Langosch said in her blog, though it was Peter Bourjos leading off — and Friday night he batted fourth.) Grichuk grounded it to Jimmy Rollins at short, who threw to first for out No. 3. The visual:
Ah, good to know, FOX, that Chi Chi had a good game and a no-hitter through five innings. Speaking of no-hitters, Michael Wacha had one for a while last night too, and more strikeouts than just the three in the first inning. And things were good, until Matheny was Matheny. But that’s getting ahead of the game….
So the Cardinals end the first with a 1-0 lead.
To continue the Progressive Game Blog, click here for Matt Whitener’s description of the second inning at I-70 Baseball.