The Tuesday Takeaway
The Reds entered the bottom of the eighth inning down 5-4 to the Cardinals. Of course, some things happened before that, with the most noteworthy including Adam Wainwright’s first home run since 2012
and Joey Votto showing that his discipline at the plate is not necessarily reflected in other areas of his game.
— Drew Silva (@drewsilv) August 3, 2016
But what you need to know (which, presumably, is what you want to know, seeing as how you’re reading this column) is that the Reds entered the bottom of the eighth inning down 5-4. They faced a fresh bullpen arm, with Mike Matheny turning to his beloved double switch to take out no. 3 hitter Matt Holliday and put Jonathan Broxton on the mound. The Cardinals’ fourth reliever of the night, Broxton was not their last—as he got things started with back-to-back walks, and a sac bunt fumbled by Matt Adams at first then loaded the bases. Time for another Matheny double switch, this time to put in Seung Hwan Oh in the line-up’s no. 4 spot, working outside his typical role as closer in the eighth inning here. And with no outs, the bases loaded and a one-run lead, The Final Boss got the job done, striking out Billy Hamilton before getting Ivan DeJesus to ground into a double play.
So the Cardinals carried their narrow lead into the ninth, where they made two outs in short order. But down to their last out, Stephen Piscotty earned a walk from Jumbo Diaz, and Brandon Moss moved him over to third with a single. The heart of the Cardinals’ lineup was up next, with Jeremy Hazelbaker batting third and in the clean-up spot… Seung Hwan Oh. (Remember those double switches?) But after Cincinnati intentionally walked Hazelbaker to load the bases, Matheny decided to leave his usual closer in and sent Oh on up to bat. He struck out looking, taking with him any chance of the Cardinals’ extending their lead.
Oh had never before made a two-inning appearance for a save. He did not set a great precedent for any future ones here. His first pitch of the ninth inning—a Joey Votto single. His fifth—an Adam Duvall single. And after getting Brandon Phillips to pop up, Oh’s eleventh pitch of the inning…
…was very much taken advantage of by Scott Schebler, showing that, at least so far, no Jay Bruce means no problem and one walk-off victory for the Reds. Oh (well).
After seven scoreless innings, David Price was looking pretty good—three hits and no walks, five strikeouts, yet to hit 90 pitches. If he had ended his night there, with the Red Sox up 4-0 on the Mariners, he would have had himself a pretty respectable stat line for the evening. But, as you might have guessed from the conditional clause at the start of that last sentence, his night did not end there. Price came back out for the eighth, and things went downhill quickly.
His very first pitch—a knuckle curve to Mike Zunino—was a home run.
Two pitches later, Leonys Martin was aboard with a single; one pitch after that, Luis Sardinas had moved him over with a single of his own. The next at bat was at least a bit longer—five pitches this time, to Guillermo Heredia—but the result was the same, a single. Martin scored, and Price was done for the night, with no outs and two men still aboard.
After a Matt Barnes strikeout of Seth Smith, Fernando Abad was called upon for his first appearance in a Red Sox uniform. It did not go well.
Like, three-run-Robinson-Cano-homer did not go well. The Mariners did no more damage from there, but what they did was enough. After entering the inning up by four, the Red Sox finished it down by one, and Seattle held on for the 5-4 win thanks to a lights-out performance by Edwin Diaz.
Also of note here? The debut of Andrew Benintendi, called up for the first time and brought into pinch hit, finishing the evening with a groundout and a strikeout and amazing hair.
The Texas-Baltimore game was supposed to be an introduction for newly-minted Rangers Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Beltran in their first game with the new club. But the game’s star was instead someone forging his own sort of (re)introduction—Dylan Bundy, who has lately tried to make a case for himself not as an injury-riddled bust or a potentially serviceable bullpen arm or a symbol of all that is questionable around the Orioles and pitching development, but instead as a veritable major league starter.
Tonight, he looked like it.
In his longest outing yet—seven innings—Bundy took a no-hitter into the sixth and struck out seven, allowing just one hit and one walk.
For a bit, Yu Darvish made it a pitchers’ duel, but a series of home runs (including two from Pedro Alvarez) beginning in the fifth took care of that.
The Orioles went on to secure the 5-1 win.
Defensive Play of the Day
Plenty of guys would have waited a beat here to give this a chance to roll foul. Not Javy Baez, who went in for the barehanded grab and sent it to first in time to ensure the out. The Cubs went on to beat the Marlins, 3-2.
What to Watch Wednesday
Twice in a row now, Minnesota has lit up Cleveland’s starting pitching—though Monday’s blow-out can be partially explained by Danny Salazar’s elbow troubles, which landed him on the 15-day DL right after the game, Tuesday’s harsh treatment of Carlos Carrasco is a little more puzzling. And as Cleveland’s been losing this week, Detroit has kept winning all the while, and the result has the Tigers now just three games back of the Indians for the AL Central’s top spot. Cleveland will try to finally get the best of Minnesota (and to quiet Max Kepler, who has four home runs in the series so far) with Trevor Bauer going up against Tyler Duffey, while Detroit will task Michael Fulmer with defending their seven game winning streak against Chris Sale and the White Sox (both at 7:10 EST).
Another team trying to hold a shrinking division lead is the Giants, who failed to pull off a comeback against the Phillies Tuesday after Madison Bumgarner was roughed up much the way Carrasco was. But San Francisco’s loss was complemented by one from LA, and the Giants’ lead over the Dodgers remains at two and a half games. But with Johnny Cueto on the mound for Wednesday’s game against the Phillies (7:05 EST), they have a good chance to extend that, while the Dodgers will try the recently-recalled Brock Stewart against Colorado in his second major league start (8:40 EST).
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