My first ever liveblog begins NOW. Get excited!
6:59 PM–Tonight’s game will feature veteran Andy Pettitte facing off against the Cards biggest prospect, and Chris Carpenter’s replacement, Anthony Reyes. He will be making his third big league start. All of his starts have come via brief call-ups from Triple A Memphis to replace or rest Cardinals starters. He has been impressive in his two previous starts.
Last season he went 6.1 innings and allowed just two runs during an August 9th start against the Brewers. Only a few weeks ago he pitched 5.2 without giving up a run against the Kansas City Royals. He looked like he could have gone much deeper in the game, but manager Tony LaRussa (probably wisely) pulled him a little early. In his one minor league start since going 2-0 for his career he pitched eight shutout innings. (His strikeout to walk ratio has been ridiculously good.)
Tonight, however, will be his first start in St. Louis. I’m excited to see how he will respond in front of the home crowd. My only regret is that Chris Carpenter had to go on the DL to set up the start. He will apparently only miss tonight start, though, so I’m shamelessly looking forward to seeing Reyes. I’m crossing my fingers that I don’t regret that last sentence.
7:11–First pitch! Willy Tavares leads off and plays center for the Astros, as expected. A lead-off double, however, was not expected.
7:14–Good grief! Another Cardinal has the flu. This time it is Scott Spiezio, who has been sent home from the ballpark. According to the Cards’ broadcaster he is the 14th Redbird to be stricken with the illness. Larry Bigbie blamed the outbreak on the San Francisco Giant’s postgame spread last week. The Cardinals had an off day between a series with the Giants and Padres when a large portion of the team got sick. It was said the Cards would have had trouble putting a team on the field should a game have been scheduled that day. If Spiezio is just now getting sick, though, it really puts a hole in the poisoned postgame spread theory.
7:21–Well we’re through the first inning. Reyes gave up a run with the RBI going to Lance Berkman. Not a bad start though–Tavares’ double came on a tough pitch and Berkman is, umm, good.
7:24–Andy Pettitte has been having some problems, but I expect him to pitch well tonight. He was struggling the last time he took the mound against the Cards and ended up pitching pretty well. I refuse to think we’ll hit him.
7:26–Albert Pujols walks to the plate with no one on base. Pitch 1: Foul. Pitch 2: Ball. Pitch 3: Foul again. Pitch 4: Ball. Pitch 5: Fly out to deep center. This round to Pettitte.
Any comments/thoughts on the game are welcome! I would love to hear what others have to say about the game. If I don’t mention something that deserved to be mentioned let me know, or if you have something else to say altogether.
7:32–A 1-2-3 second for Reyes! His wardrobe is the topic of much discussion. I know he has to wear the high, red and white striped socks when he pitching in the minors, so my guess is he just really doesn’t like to change things up too much. There might be more to it than that, but I have never heard anything about it. As for his ultra, straight billed hat…It stems back to his days at USC. He actually irons it to make it look that straight.
7:36–Lead-off double for Scott Rolen, your NL leader in third base All-Star voting. His power might not be back from his shoulder problems, but he is on pace for only his second (full) season with a .300+ average.
7:40–An otherwise good at-bat by So Taguchi ended badly…a long battle ended with him striking out with a runner on third and one out. Ouch.
7:42–Al Hraboski (sorry if I misspelled the name) has just mentioned for the 1000th time that Braden Looper felt so good in Spring Training since he was finally healthy that he couldn’t concentrate on pitching well. I didn’t buy it the other 999 time, and I don’t buy it now.
YADIER MOLINA comes through with a two out double to tie the game at one run a piece.
7:47–Andy Pettite at the plate. I read he was genuinely upset earlier this year when Phil Garner chose another pitcher for an emergency pitch hit appearance which I found odd. He popped out this time.
7:51–Craig Biggio didn’t like the called third strike on him that ended the third. He had a few words for the umpire, but we move to the bottom of the inning nonetheless.
7:53–Lead-off hit for Reyes…impressive. Top of the order now with Eckstein, who is leading the All-Star voting at shortstop and deservedly so…even though he just bounced into a double play. Former Card Edgar Renteria is having a good year in Atlanta as well. Look for a post on that soon.
Pujols at the dish after a bunt hit by Luna. Pitch 1: Ball. Pitch 2: Swinging strike. Pitch 3:Ball outside. LET’S GO ALBERT! Pitch 4: Hard shot to third to end the innings. Round two to Pettitte as well.
8:00–Reyes gets Berkman this time around with help from a great play from Albert Pujols at first. I don’t see every first baseman play defense in the NL, but if Albert is awarded his first Gold Glove he’ll deserve it. Seriously deserve it.
8:05–Through the visitor half of the fourth, and Reyes looks as impressive as ever. This guy is going to make Walt Jocketty’s life a lot easier in the off season when he is trying to sign his four free agent starters. Chris Carpenter is the only starter with a contract for next year, and he is grossly underpaid. Many have said that situation is as important as any to resolve, but neither Jocketty nor Carpenter seems particularly worried about it. I’m just hoping Mark Mulder is willing to take a few million less to stay in St. Louis. Please, Mark. Please.
8:09–So much for his power being dimmed. Scott Rolen homers to left. BACK-TO-BACK!! Juan Encarnacion immediately follows Rolen’s homer with one of his own to left. He crushed it. 3-1 Cards lead before an out is recorded!
8:13–Aaron Miles just struck out for the second time, this time to end the fourth. No more damage was done to Pettitte this inning. While were here though…Miles has been very good so far this season. It has been written about at length but the trade that sent J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero has benefitted the Cardinals GREATLY. In the end we got Adam Wainwright, Jason Marquis, Aaron Miles, and Larry Bigbie for our current roster.
8:20–Reyes leading off again. He wouldn’t get another hit would he? Nope. He would not.
8:23–Good to see the New Busch Stadium full again. All the seats are officially open for just the second game. Still, every game has been a sell out so far this season and every game is expected to be.
Albert’s is up again…this time with a runner on first. Hopefully he’ll break out of his struggles (2 for 15) against Andy Pettitte. An intentional walk to bring up Scott Rolen who is 2 for 2 on the night. Alright, fine by me. Rolen gets Pujols treatment from me…Pitch 1: Strike. Pitch 2: Weak fly out to right field. Not so fine, but I’ll take Rolen any day.
8:30–Reyes is pitching awesome, but he just gave up a significant double to Craig Biggio who has tied Hank Aaron for 9th (624) on the all time list and has passed Brooks Robinson on the all-time hits list.
8:37–Reyes just whiffed Morgan Ensberg to end the sixth and strand Biggio on second. Even though he has given up a run, this just might turn out to be his best big league start to date which is impressive (see top of post).
8:40–Encarnacion just lined out to center, but I want to talk about him. He really has been better lately, but I’m still waiting for my main question to be answered. At his very best, how good can he be? And just how good is that honestly? I’m not of the school of thought that his career average numbers are going to be good enough. I want more. I’m a greedy and spoiled but nice and supportive Cardinal fan!
8:45–With a strike out of Preston Wilson (his seventh on the night) to start the top of the seventh, Anthony Reyes has now pitched deeper into this game his other big league starts. His pitch count is nearing 100 so my guess is that this is his last inning no matter what.
8:51–Well officially I’m both a jinx and a liar. Reyes just gave up back to back hits and was taken out by LaRussa. So his official line will say he pitch 6.1 innings, the same as last year against the Brew Crew. Hopefully Josh Hancock can strand his runners, but even if he fails to do so it was an absolutely outstanding showing by Anthony Reyes. I’m glad he’s going to be on our side for years to come.
8:55–3-2 home team after a Jason Lane pinch-hit RBI single. Now it’s Orlando Palmairo (spell?) pinch-hitting for Andy Pettitte whose night will end with 6 IP and 3 ER.
8:58–Did that really just happen? It’s 4-3 Houston after a hit and an inexplicable misplay by Golden-Gloved Scott Rolen. It’s damage control now for Hancock. Final line for Reyes: 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, and no chance for a win. He deserved better, but there are bigger things to worry about…like the Redbirds getting the win.
9:01–I think we would’ve been better off with Reyes. Craig Biggio just put the Astros up 6-3 with a two run home run off Hancock. Apparently he can’t pitch bad enough to get taken out of the game as no one is even warming up. The Cards have statistically the best bullpen in the league, but tonight is just not Josh Hancock’s night.
9:09–Apparently Hancock did pitch bad enough to be taken out of the game. John Rodriguez pinch hits with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Johnny Rocket, as I guess he is being called these days, is off to a terrific start this season. He didn’t like the call but he stuck out for the out number two.
Russ Springer, he of the Bond beanball (bean ball?), is doing the pitching. I didn’t feel too sorry for Barry when he got plunked, but I didn’t cheer either. It was just a weird situation.
9:13–Nice running catch by Willy Tavares to end the inning. It wasn’t exactly highlight reel material but someone with less speed would have had trouble catching up to it.
9:15–Random between innings thought…Jim Edmonds had the scan I mentioned in my “First Raes” but the results are not yet known to us. It is believed he has a sports hernia, a condition I read almost always requires surgery. However, even if he has the condition Edmonds seems to think he’ll be able to play soon. We’ll see.
9:18–Mention number 1,001 of Braden Looper being too healthy to pitch well early in season just took place (see 7:42). It’s so predictable when he comes in a game on Fox Sports Net I could cry.
9:24–Pujols to the plate with no one on and one out and three runs down. Pitch 1: Ball. Pitch 2: Strike. Pitch 3: Base hit between the shortstop and third basemen. A perfect example of how Pujols hits to win the game…a home run would have been nice, but base runners are what we need. LaRussa has repeatedly said he hits as the situation requires. Just another reason to love El Hombre. Bring him around for another run scored, Scott!
9:27–Double for Rolen…maybe the comments will pick back up now that the Cards have something going. Make me a believer Juan!!!
9:29–Albert’s out at the plate after Encarnacion grounds to third. The inning isn’t over yet, however.
9:32–It is now…still 6-3 heading into the ninth. We’ll have our 7-8-9 hitter in the bottom of the inning and a short bench to work with. Jim Edmonds might be available, but Scott Spiezio is not (see 7:14). It’s not over until the 27th out is recorded, though, as Albert would say.
9:35–It’s back to the mound for Braden Looper after a quick and easy eighth. He wears Yadi’s old number which gives him automatic cool points. I have a shirt with Molina and 41 on the back so when he’s in the game I can represent both ends of the battery. I know, I know…jealousy is only normal. (Sorry–I’m an idiot.)
9:40–To the bottom of the ninth! Bring on Brad Lidge…
9:44–One pitch, one out…Yadi out after smoking a ball to third.
9:46–Well that was an anti-climatic ending to a very busy and exciting night for me. Thanks to Erik and Kevin for the comments and to Lisa for being my liveblogging partner. The Cards went quietly in the ninth, but they’ll be back on the field at noon tomorrow going for yet another series win. They have yet to lose a series at home. I will not be help responsible if that happens for the first time tomorrow becuase that was merely an observation.
Reyes has nothing to show for his great night, and Josh Hancock takes a well deserved loss. He’ll get them next time though. No love lost here overall. Please keep commenting on the thoughts I shared throughout the game and stop back tomorrow morning for my First Raes. (I giggle at the name, and I’m the one who came up with it.)
[Sorry for the endless errors I’m sure I made while frantically typing throughout the game. My fingers are cramping!]