Welcome to The Review.
As in “The Redbird Review.”
I wish we had more positives to dish here…
FIRST PITCH: The Cardinals lose again at Miller Park, this time by an 8-4 final. The Cardinals are 1-5 against the Brewers this season. And this is not a fluke. Since the start of the 2017 season Milwaukee is 27-17 vs. St. Louis. And going back to last Aug. 19, the Brewers have won nine of their last 10 games against the Cardinals.
CARDS KILLER: Christian Yelich. Yep, another 3-run homer as the Cardinals appear to be clueless on what to do about Yelich, who continues to destroy STL pitching. In six games and only 21 at-bats against the Cardinals early this season Yelich has eight homers, 18 RBIs and 10 runs scored. He’s popped the Cardinals for a homer every 2.6 at-bats this season. In his two seasons as a Brewer, Yelich has 14 homers, 33 RBIs and a .926 slugging percentage against the Cardinals in only 22 games. The Cardinals haven’t been humbled by Yelich; they’ve been humiliated.
BASEBALL HERO: Yelich has overshadowed Marcell Ozuna, his former teammate in Miami. Ozuna is doing bad things to baseballs in recent days, mashing seven homers, two doubles and 14 RBIs in his last nine games. It was a little too late to matter, but Ozuna pumped a two-run homer off Brandon Woodruff last night to make it 8-2 in the top of the sixth. Since last season’s All-Star break Ozuna is tied for ninth in the majors with 20 homers and ranks 13th with 54 RBIs. He’s also 17th over that time with a slugging percentage of .547.
BLAME GAME: Going into the game, I assume most Cardinals fans had confidence in getting a good start from Jack Flaherty. But he didn’t deliver, lasting only 2.2 innings and giving up nine hits, five earned runs, and two homers. The Cardinals never came close to lifting themselves out of that deep ditch.
TURNING POINT: Lorenzo Cain gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the third. But that wasn’t the turning point. After Flaherty struck out Yelich, Ryan Braun hit a tricky ground ball that hopped toward the third-base bag … and under Matt Carpenter’s glove. This obvious error was foolishly ruled a double, and the Brewers pounced on the unexpected opportunity to score four more runs in the third to open a 5-0 lead.
HEY, YOU DID GOOD: Other than Ozuna, shout out to Paul DeJong who had a hit, a walk, and scored a run. It wasn’t a loud night for DeJong, but the Cards shortstop continued to take good at-bats and get on base. This season DeJong is batting .309 with a .382 onbase percentage and slugging a robust .618. DeJong is doing a heckuva job in his plate discipline, cutting his strikeout rate to 21 percent so far this year. That’s way down from previous levels … in his last nine games (eight starts) outfielder Dexter Fowler is batting .344 with a .382 OBP and .438 slug (.820 OPS). Dex is definitely improving.
LOOK, YOU NEED TO DO BETTER: Carpenter went 0 for 5 with a strikeout and the costly defensive mishap… Paul Goldschmidt struck out three times… in the first two games of the series, Cardinals starting pitchers Dakota Hudson and Jack Flaherty have been whomped for 11 earned runs and four homers in 6 and ⅓ innings. In 49 innings against the Brewers this season, the St. Louis pitching staff has been mugged for 16 homers and a .571 slugging percentage and pierced for a 6.61 ERA.
SECOND GUESSING SHILDTY: He still won’t have his pitchers walk Yelich. He still doesn’t have a plan for Yelich. This time Shildt summoned rookie Ryan Helsley from the bullpen with two outs and two runners on in the fifth and the Brewers leading 5-0. Uh-oh, here comes Yelich — as the first big-league hitter ever faced by Helsley. Hey, welcome to the show, kid! Helsley made a couple of nice pitches but threw a flat cutter that Yelich hit to Oshkosh for a three-run homer. After the game Shildt said it would have sent the wrong message to Helsley to have him walk Yelich … OK, I sort of get that … but here’s the deal: You don’t have to ask Helsley to walk Yelich. You have Giovanny Gallegos stay in the game to walk Yelich intentionally and THEN bring in Helsley. You want to throw Helsley into the fire, as Shildt said after the game? Fine. Put him in a bases-loaded fire. That’s a fire. But it’s also fire that doesn’t include the hottest hitter alive, Christian Yelich, swinging the bat and doing a fire dance… and let the kid, Helsley, go after Ryan Braun instead …. (Helsley, by the way, struck out Braun on three pitches) … by the way, what message does it send to Helsley when the manager thinks the rookie will fall apart and lose confidence just because the manager calls for an intentional walk of Yelich? What, Helsley was going to start bawling on the mound? This is absolutely crazy.
GOOD MOVE SHILDTY: The Shildt fan here .. me … and I got nothing.
BREATHLESS: It’s just sort of startling to realize that the Milwaukee Brewers own the St. Louis Cardinals. This hasn’t been an actual competition for quite some time.
NL CENTRAL: Brewers 12-6 … Pirates 9-6 … Cardinals 9-8 … Cubs 7-9 … Reds 5-11.
ON DECK: Michael Wacha (5.28 ERA, four homers in 15.1 innings) vs. Corbin Burnes (4.84 ERA) … the pitching matchup for the series finale today (12:40 p.m.) at Miller Park … could see see some runs today; Wacha had nothing against the Dodgers in his last time out. Burnes, a rookie right-hander, has been smoked for nine homers in 14 and ⅓ innings this season.
Thanks for reading…