August 16, 2017
How the Pendulum Swings
Cardinals right-hander Mike Leake had only given up one run through four innings against the Red Sox on Tuesday night, but he ran into trouble in the fifth inning, in a big way. The Red Sox didn’t start launching balls over the fence, but their swings came early (even, somewhat uncharacteristically, on the first pitch) and looked confident.
Leake’s sheer stuff was fine, but his command frayed (he hit Andrew Benintendi with an 0-2 pitch), and the mounting confidence of the Boston batsmen seemed to come directly from his personal stores. It was one hard-hit single, then another, then the unlucky hit batter, then a double off the wall by Hanley Ramirez, then a dumb intentional walk, then another pair of singles, and before manager Mike Matheny could make it out there to remove his April ace, the game was gone.
Milwaukee pulled into a tie with St. Louis for second place in the NL Central with a 3-1 win Tuesday night, but the Brewers could have succumbed to a similar disaster inning. In the Pirates fourth, with Brewers right-hander Zach Davies on the mound, Andrew McCutchen led off with a ground out. Josh Bell then worked a walk, and David Freese got a hanger, a great pitch with which to do what Freese has always done best, and done as well as almost anyone: drive the ball to the gap in right-center field. Alas, Freese was instead caught looking to yank the ball, and although he still made solid contact, Eric Sogard was able to make a jumping catch at shortstop for the second out.