If I told the Milwaukee Brewers they’d get to Chris Carpenter for three runs and bounce him from the game after just five innings, they would be excited. Three walks from Carp? Sold! Shut them out after the first inning? Sold!
The Brewers, unfortunately, forgot one important baseball truism: defense matters.
Much of the Cardinals four run first inning might have been prevented with better outfield defense. The decision to start Mark Kotsay in center field would loom larger had the wily veteran not provided a home run in the third inning, bringing the Brew Crew back within a run.
That is as close as they got as Tony LaRussa managed his bullpen beautifully. Four Cardinals relievers combined to throw four perfect innings, with closer Jason Motte shutting the door with a four out save. TLR showed no hesitation using Motte for more than one inning while calling on ascendant LOOGY Marc Rzepcyznski in the eighth inning.
The return of Lance Lynn to the Cardinals fray makes a huge difference as he has the ability to go more than one inning and doesn’t present the scary platoon splits of a guy like Octavio Dotel. Lynn faced the unenviable task of retiring Ryan Braun with a one-run lead.
Curveball misses down, fastball up in the zone, curveball down which induces a ground ball. Simple enough, right?
Anatomy Of A Poor Managerial Decision
Mark Kotsay it ain’t so, Ron Roenicke!
The Most Important Play Of The Game
In a cruel twist of irony, Mark Kotsay’s third inning home run had the greatest WPA impact of any play, raising the Brewers probability of winning by more than 10%. John Jay’s first inning double provided the Cardinals the biggest boost.
As mentioned above, the Cardinals bullpen did a great job and deserves special mention. Three of the four Cards bullpen arms earned shutdowns, with Marc Rzepcyznski falling short by virtue of his limited appearance.
Stray Observations from the Game
The Cardinals aren’t really going to do this thing, are they? I don’t know that I can handle it.