Rafael Ortega made things mighty interesting in the top of the 8th with a two-run, game-tying blast, but Mark Leiter Jr. couldn’t make the tie last through the bottom of the 8th.
For the second straight outing, Adrian Sampson was mystifying me (and the opposing batters). His fastball velocity was up again (94-ish this time), his pitches moved like crazy, he got a whopping 12 whiffs out of 80 pitches, and got five strikeouts over his five innings of work. The only runs he gave up came on a couple bits of terrible contact (.170 xBA, .260 xBA), and overall the contact quality by the Cardinals was sub-par.
Also, like the last time, the eye test looked like I was watching a completely different pitcher than I saw last year with the Cubs (and, again, it’s not like his numbers at Iowa this year “look” like this guy either). I don’t really know what’s going on with Sampson. It’s interesting, though, and I will absolutely take something interesting to watch and think about.
Another good game for Nelson Velazquez when he gets a start, and another two-hit day for Nico Hoerner. Rowan Wick had a rough outing, cleaned up by Scott Effross.