Welcome to The Review.
The Redbird Review.
I’m trying something different here.
I’m taking a regular feature of my radio show and adapting it to the written word for easy, informative online reading.
This won’t appear after every Cardinals’ game. In addition to the occasional days off from work, I won’t be writing this on the weekend.
But Monday through Friday you can pretty much count on a recap/review of the Cardinals’ game played on the previous day/night.
Due to other job-related responsibilities, some editions of The Review will be shorter in length.
MONDAY NIGHT: Brewers 10, Cardinals 7 at Miller Park. With the loss, the Cards fell to 9-7. The Redbirds are 1-4 against the Brewers this season, and 8-3 vs. other teams. Milwaukee is 11-6 and in first place in the NL Central.
CARDS KILLER; Easy answer … Orlando Arcia. Just kidding. The evil Christian Yelich did it again, this time bombing the Cardinals for three homers and seven runs batted in … the biggest fly by Yelich was his three-run shot in the bottom of the 6th off Cards reliever Mike Mayers that gave the Brewers a 9-6 lead after the Cardinals had grinded back from a four-run deficit to tie this crazy game 6-6 in the top half of the inning.
Facts that may cause an illness among Cardinals’ patrons:
Since being acquired by the Brewers before the 2018 season, Yelich has played 21 games against the Cardinals. And in 94 plate appearances and 76 at bats, he’s destroyed helpless St. Louis pitching with 13 home runs, 30 runs batted in, 25 runs scored, a .921 slugging percentage and 1.376 OPS.
In 15 games for the Brewers against the Cardinals at Miller Park , Yelich has 11 home runs in only 54 at-bats with a .981 slug and 1.426 OPS. As a Brewer, Yelich has blasted the Cardinals with a homer every Cardinals every 5.8 at-bats ery 4.9 at-bats.
Yelich has eight homers in 17 games this season. Seven of the eight were smashed against the Cardinals.
Yelich has 44 homers as a Brewer; 29.5 percent have flown against the Cardinals.
In 1998, when Mark McGwire set the single-season HR record with 70, his most frequent victims were the Cubs and the Marlins. McGwire walloped seven homers against each team that season.
Big Mac dropped seven on the Cubs in 11 games, 53 plate appearances and 33 at-bats. That’s a HR every 4.7 at-bats. He walloped the Marlins with seven homers in nine games, 43 plate appearances and 32 at-bats. That’s a homer every 4.5 at-bats.
And Yelich? He has seven homers against the Cardinals this season in only five games, 23 plate appearances and 16 at-bats. A homer every 2.28 at-bats.
This is beyond embarrassing.
It is beyond stupid.
Umm, maybe come up with a better plan?
The seven Yelich homers against the Cardinals this season have been on fastballs — either four-seamers or sinkers. Why do the Cardinals continue to serve up moderate-velo fastballs to Yelich? Since the start of last season (vs. all teams) 24 of his 44 homers have been on fastballs.
BASEBALL HERO: Paul Goldschmidt. The Cardinals first baseman had two hits including his seventh homer. He walked twice. He scored two runs. Drove in two runs… Goldy is slugging .581 this season. And despite a strikeout rate (28 percent) that’s a little high by his standards, Goldschmidt is 37 percent above league average offensively in park-adjusted runs created (wRC+.)
THE BLAME GAME: Rookie Cardinals starting pitcher Dakota Hudson was awful again — then again, what else is new with this rotation? It’s a problem spot for sure. More on that i a few …. As for Hudson: he lasted only 3.2 innings, getting battered for eight hits including two homers, and he walked three. This season Hudson has a 6.08 ERA and an even worse fielding independent ERA (8.32). He’s faced 70 batters this year and has been clobbered for five homers, two doubles, a .350 average, .443 OBP and .633 slugging percentage. Hudson’s strikeout rate is too low (18.6%) and his his walk rate (14.3%) is too high.
Hurry up and get ready, Carlos Martinez.
TURNING POINT: The bottom of the second inning… the Cards had taken a 2-0 lead on solo homers by Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong in the first … but that lead disappeared during a 34-pitch span in the bottom of the second, with the Brewers slapping Hudson around for six hits, six runs, and homers by Mike Moustakas and Yelich. It was the first of two three-run homers by Yelich in this game. The Brewers went up 6-2. And though the Cardinals fought back to tie, the pitching staff had little chance to hold the Brewers in check. Getting abused for six runs in one inning put the Cardinals in a terrible position.
HEY, YOU DID GOOD: I’m not in the mood to hand out little “peeps,” … you know, those Easter candies… but left fielder Marcell Ozuna went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and his sixth homer of the season. In his last eight games Ozuna has six homers, 12 RBIs and a 1.375 OPS… and right fielder Dexter Fowler went 2 for 5; in his last five games Fowler is batting .350 with a .450 slug … and lefty reliever Tyler Webb was actually good in this game, working 1.1 scoreless innings without incident.
LOOK, YOU NEED TO DO BETTER: The STL rotation has a 4.93 ERA which ranks 11th in the NL and No. 22 overall. Hitters have muscled Cards’ starting pitchers for a 5.72 FIP (27th), 2.02 homers per nine innings (27th), a .358 OBP (28th) and a .537 slug (29th.)
Hudson, Miles Mikolas and Michael Wacha have been jumped for a combined 32 earned runs and 14 homers in 49.2 innings. That’s a combined 5.80 ERA…
The Cardinals continue to strand too many runners with runners in scoring position. Their .647 OPS with RISP ranks 25th in the majors…
SECOND GUESSING SHILDTY: Much like his his team, manager Mike Shildt had a bad Monday night. Shildt was too slow to pull Hudson. Shildt has no strategy for cooling Yelich. And while we realize that lefty reliever Andrew Miller isn’t pitching well, he’s still Andrew Miller, one of the finest LH relievers of his day. And on top of that, the front office spent a guaranteed $25 million on Miller.
Shildt should have gone to Miller to take on against Yelich in the 6th inning; you can’t keep your best lefty in reserve just in case you MIGHT have a lead to protect later in the game.
Miller isn’t fully sharp, and Yelich tagged him for a HR earlier this season. But Miller has been (mostly) improving as of late and was still the best bet to muffle Yelich.
Games can be won or lost in the 6th inning — Shildt knows this, and he is smarter than this. It’s ridiculous that the Cardinals gave up three homers and seven RBIs to Yelich with their most capable lefty reliever sitting in the bullpen all night. I expected this from the Cardinals’ previous manager, but not Shildt.
And given Milwaukee’s LH-bat-heavy lineup, Shildt shouldn’t have used the lefty, Webb, in a long-relief role.
By the way: The LH-swinging Yelich bats second; his fellow LH batter, Travis Shaw, hits third. In Monday’s game Shaw went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Probably a good idea to challenge Shaw instead of Yelich.
GOOD MOVE, SHILDTY: Nothing that leaps out.
BREWING CONTROVERSY: Drew Robinson? Really? That’s the best that the front office can do? And maybe it’s time to think about acquiring a left-handed pitcher to help turn off the incinerator? Cards pitching has been stomped for a .400 OBP and .597 slug by left-batting hitters this season. Complacency really stinks.
BREATHLESS: Every time Yelich comes to the plate against the Cardinals, to open another wound, feel like I’m watching the original “Saw” or some other notorious horror movie.
SUMMING IT UP: Shildt, pitching coach Mike Maddux and catcher Yadier Molina must come up with a plan to turn Yelich back into a human being.
ON DECK: The Cardinals will send their best starting pitcher, Jack Flaherty, after Yelich and the Brewers this evening at 6:40. Brandon Woodruff (6.00 ERA, 30 percent strikeout rate) starts for the Brewers.
Thanks for reading …