By: Jim Tsapelas
The former Cardinal catcher, St. Louis native, and one of the favorite son’s of the St. Louis “Hill”, Joe Garagiola, Sr’s book, Baseball is a Funny Game, published in 1960, is a comedic and irreverent look at the game of baseball.
Sunday’s eight to five Cardinal win over the San Diego Padres continued the budding 2016 Cardinal tradition of being involved in odd and unusual games!
A win is a win; even if it’s a sloppy win. Sunday’s game featured Aledmys Diaz and Jedd Gyorko making fielding miscues in same inning, resulting in Gyorko earning an error; followed by Gyorko and Diaz hitting back-to-back home runs in the sixth, to Brandon Moss having a mental lapse which also resulted in an error. It was once again late inning offensive heroics which gave the Cardinals the Game Three victory.
With the score Padres five and the Cardinals three, going into the top of the sixth, the Gyorko and Diaz’s home runs knotted the score at five. The score remained tied at five until the eighth inning. In the top of the eighth, with pinch hitter Matt Adams at first, the slumping Matt Carpenter laced a triple into the corner in right. Adams, not known for his speed, lumbered from first to score the go ahead run. Also in the inning, Padres’ reliever, Brandon Maurer, intentionally walked Moss who had been 0-3, to pitch to Randal Grichuk who was 3-4 at the time. Grichuk returns the favor by hitting his third double of the season, scoring Carpenter. Grichuk ended the day 3-5, scored one run, and had thee RBI’s. Like Joe says. “Baseball is a funny game.”
The Redbirds who are still facing questions with their starting rotation, and who have way too many defensive errors, have been quite successful in games in the seventh inning and beyond. In the seventh inning and on, the Cardinals have scored forty-five runs, have thirteen home runs, thirty-one extra base hits, a .321 average, and an ERA of 2.06.
Mike Leake had another unsuccessful outing on Sunday. He and Adam Wainwright have struggled finding their respective rhythms and individual pitching needs. Leake who is in his first season with the Redbirds, has historically been a slow starter and has progressed as the season develops. I am optimistic that both Wainwright and Leake will figure out their individual issues and both shall be effective in 2016.
It is no secret, the Cardinals have experienced way too many errors, so far, in the month of April. I am unsure if the absence of third base and infield coach Jose Oquendo, may have created an issue for the Birds. Regardless of the causation of the overly high error rate, this must be addressed and corrected.
Once again the reliever corps was largely effective, combining for four scoreless innings of work, allowing just two hits, one walk, and struck out six. Despite his usual high seasonal number of career saves, it took closer Trevor Rosenthal thirty-four pitches to notch his fifth save of the season. There is no arguing with Rosenthal’s save numbers, it is his pitch counts, which at times prove to not be as efficient for someone in the closer’s role.
Gyorko, was a double shy for hitting for the cycle on Sunday. The starting rotation and defensive concerns are areas the Cardinals must focus on and improve.
Monday the Birds travel to Arizona to take on the Diamondbacks in an 8:40 PM (CT) game at Chase Field. The Redbirds send the southpaw, Jaime Garcia (1-1) to meet the D-Backs Zack Greinke (1-2).
When you think about it, baseball is a funny game!
Thanks for reading!