We’ve talked a lot about luck this year, whether it’s Zack Greinke‘s home run rates or the team’s struggles when it comes to hitting on the road. A lot of times, it ends up being a running joke when people take an idea and run it into the ground, but sometimes the Brewers do just have things go unexplicably bad.
Then there are the nights like Monday, when things go unexplicably well, even after getting shut down for four innings. Among them:
1. In the Brewers’ 5-run 5th inning, Ron Roenicke called for the hit-and-run with Yuniesky Betancourt at first and Casey McGehee up to bat. McGehee rifled one to right, nearly hitting the running Betancourt in the process. Betancourt made a heads-up play and narrowly dodged the ball, heading to third on the play.
2. In the same inning, with Betancourt on third and McGehee on first, Jonathan Lucroy hit a high chopper over the head of David Freese. Freese was drawn in on the play — if he was playing at normal depth, the ball doesn’t get past him. Betancourt wasn’t running on contact, instead electing to wait for the ball to get past Freese.
3. On the same play, McGehee was able to go first to third when Matt Holliday‘s throw to the infield came in weak and didn’t hit a cutoff man. McGehee never stopped running and made it into third without a throw.
4. With men still on first and third, Roenicke called for Zack Greinke to bunt on the safety squeeze. The Cardinals froze when fielding the bunt, expecting McGehee to break for home, but he never did. By the time they realized McGehee was staying put, the defense wasn’t at an angle to make a play on Greinke.
5. After a Corey Hart RBI single, Nyjer Morgan ripped a ball into the left-center gap for a bases-loaded double. The Cards outfield was playing Morgan to pull, meaning Jon Jay had to make a longer run to the ball. He ultimately took a poor route, was unable to cut off the ball, and even kicked it up against the wall. Morgan likely had a double regardless, but perhaps Hart could have been held at third with a better play on the ball.
6. After the big inning, Zack Greinke struggled to get through the 6th inning. Facing a bases-loaded jam with just one out, Greinke was able to get Skip Schumaker to hit a broken bat grounder to second base. The play seemed to take forever to develop, but Felipe Lopez was able to fire off a throw to Betancourt at second for one out, and Yuni fired it to first for the second out. Of course, replays showed that Schumaker actually beat the throw to first by a fair margin, and Yuni got a fairly generous “neighborhood” out call at second.
7. With Yadier Molina on third and Albert Pujols up with two outs in the top of the 7th, LaTroy Hawkins got Pujols to bite on a high pitch, fouling the ball off on a check swing. At least Pujols thought he fouled it off — he stood in the box while Lucroy watched the ball roll fair in front of the plate. Lucroy lunged forward to snatch the ball before it rolled back foul and tagged Pujols for the out.
8. In the bottom of the 7th, Ryan Braun hit a liner to right field. Lance Berkman tried to make a sliding stop, but whiffed on the ball. Corey Patterson was backing the play up and managed to stop the ball before too much damage was done, but by the time the ball was thrown back into the infield, Braun was on second and Morgan scored from first. Hometown scoring called it an RBI double, but Braun likely stays on first and Morgan ends up on third if Berkman is able to make the stop.
9. While the play didn’t result in any runs, the Brewers did get some more good fortune when Mark Kotsay laced a pinch-hit single up the middle in the 8th inning. The ball nicked off of Mitchel Boggs’ glove on the mound and skipped into centerfield. After the 5th inning, it seemed like everything was falling in.
10. Just to make it an even 10, you could say the Brewers were working with a slightly more favorable strike zone for much of the game, too. The Brewers benefitted on a few more pitches that were blatantly out of the zone, while not getting squeezed as much on actual strikes being called balls.