(BaseballStL) —The Cardinals didn’t have to face David Price this week against Tampa Bay, but looking at the scoreboard you wouldn’t know it.
Wednesday night saw the Birds whiff in 15 at bats, 10 times at the hands of starter Alex Cobb.
“We got dominated today,” said Jon Jay after the game.
Cobb threw 104 pitches, 69 for strikes. He made it through seven innings getting 18 called strikes, 18 swinging strikes and 18 foul balls. The rest were in play, and eight times those were ground outs.
“You could tell right from the top he had a good split working today. Our guys had trouble laying off it low in the zone,” Mike Matheny said. “It looked like their timing was right on it and it was just disappearing right below the bat.”
Cobb struck out seven through the first three innings, effectively sucking the air out of Busch stadium early. He finished 21 outs without recording a walk, but he got a little help in his final frame of work.
With two outs, Jon Jay came to the plate and worked a 2-2 count. When the next pitch crossed as a ball, the count remained even. Jay could be seen asking for clarification, but the at bat proceeded as though the pitch never existed. A ball would follow, making the count full instead of walking him, and he would eventually go down on strikes.
“The pace of the game, everything just went by and it was just a weird thing,” Jay said. “A weird play.”
How does a walk get missed in the MLB? Matheny and Jay break down what happened in the strange at bat.
Despite that mishap, the Cardinals were at the mercy of Tampa Bay’s pitchers all the game. Kolten Wong and Matt Holliday each struck out three times, as did the number nine spot in the order in a combination of Lance Lynn and George Kottaras.
For Lynn’s part, he continued his string of strong starts, going 6.1 innings and fanning seven of his own.
“I knew early on that he had his good stuff and I needed to be better than I was tonight,” Lynn said of Cobb. “I threw the ball well, I just gave up a couple too many for the way he was throwing the ball. That happens some nights, you’re going to get out-pitched even though you pitch alright.”
Lynn was charged with one earned run, an RBI double by Cobb in the second inning. It was is first major league hit, and Lynn said he was surprised it came how it did.
“A ball at his neck that he shot down the right field line,” he smiled wryly. “Good swing I guess.” The second, unearned run scored in Lynn’s final inning when Kolten Wong made an error on what would have been an inning-ending double play. Instead, the Rays had men at the corners with one out, and Lynn was pulled. The run would score on a sac fly off Seth Maness.
“Lance did a great job. Should have walked out of there with one, and could have walked out of there with no runs,” Matheny said. “He did a great job of keeping us in that game. Threw a lot of pitches, but really fought to keep us there.”
The Rays finished with three runs, and the Cardinals were unable to mount a challenge in the final innings, striking out five times in the last six outs. They slip to 2.5 back of Milwaukee in the division, though they head to Chicago next for a three-game set with the last-place Cubs.