Bernie’s Daily Redbird Review: Cardinals Having Worst May Since The Teddy Roosevelt Administration

Here’s your Daily Redbird Review …

FIRST PITCH: The May malaise continued for the Cardinals last night in Philadelphia, with the Redbirds unable to build on an early 3-0 lead in a 4-3 loss to the Phillies. It’s been a surreal month of baseball for the Cardinals, who are 7-17 in May. Tuesday’s loss was their 17th in the last 23 games. The Cardinals tumbled to 26-27 on the season.

IT ISN’T ALL BAD: Given their hideous slide this month, the Cardinals are fortunate to be only four games behind the first-place Cubs and 3 and ½ in back of the second-place Brewers. Those teams are having their own struggles. The Cubs have lost five of their last six and are 5-9 in the last 14. The Brewers are 7-9 in their last 16. On the other hand, the last-place Reds have won 11 of their last 18 games and are only one game.

CARDS KILLER: Phillies starting pitcher Nick Pivetta came into Tuesday’s start with an 8.35 ERA this season. As you’d expect after looking at the ERA, the Cardinals jumped him for a 3-0 lead in the first inning on a solo homer by Paul Goldschmidt and a two-run launch from Marcell Ozuna. And at that point the Cardinals had made only one out in the first inning. The rout was on, right? Well, actually, no. After Ozuna’s home run the Cardinals went 1-for-15 with seven strikeouts against Pivetta, who lasted five innings.

This awful showing against a terrible pitcher was absolutely embarrassing for the Cardinals.

Maybe it’s time for someone to get ticked off?

After Ozuna’s homer the Cardinals went 2 for 28 with 11 strikeouts and two walks in this game. They had one at-bat with runners in scoring position. Like I said: embarrassing.

BASEBALL HERO: None.

BLAME GAME: Of course, Adam Wainwright drew the usual warm and fuzzy reviews from his manager and some in the ever-dutiful St. Louis sports media. Granted, Waino had an excellent curve working for him, and no doubt his 10 strikeouts in six innings without a walk was impressive. Kudos for that. But the bottom line is this: he was given a 3-0 lead, and it lasted only three innings. By the end of the fourth inning, the Phillies were up 4-3 on a two-run double by Bryce Harper and a two-run homer from Cesar Hernandez. Sorry, skipper, but when a pitcher gives up four runs in six innings and surrenders an early three-run lead, that isn’t a good start. It’s a bad start. It’s a 6.00 ERA start.

Wainwright is 4-5 this season with a 4.94 ERA. He has a 6.61 road ERA in 31 and ⅓ innings. His road ERA over the last three-plus seasons is 6.48. In all starts, home and road, Wainwright since the start of the ’16 season ranks ranks 77th among 85 pitchers (minimum 400 innings) in ERA (4.79), is 52nd in FIP (4.18), 65th in strikeout rate (19.1%), and 64th in strikeout-walk ratio (2.4.)

But don’t mind me for dealing in facts.

The rest of y’all can continue to exist in this bizarro Waino-World Candyland.

That’s fine with me.

TURNING POINT: Harper’s two-out double in the third, which cut the St. Louis lead to 3-2. At that point, I think any Cardinals partisan watching the game probably thought something along the lines of ‘Uh-oh.’ Wainwright got behind in the count (3-1) and Harper made him pay.

HEY, YOU DID GOOD: Goldschmidt hit his first homer since April 22 and added a single. A positive step for a guy who entered the game with only one homer and a faint .304 slugging percentage in 129 plate appearances since April 23 … Ozuna has 47 RBIs, which ties him for third in MLB. His 15 homers rank eighth in the NL … Giovanny Gallegos gave the Cardinals two scoreless, hitless innings (three strikeouts) in relief of Wainwright and gave the Cardinals a chance to win. Their hitters declined.

LOOK, YOU NEED TO DO BETTER: We have a long list to go through here, so I’ll try to keep it snappy:

* Since being moved to the leadoff spot on Friday, Dexter Fowler is 0 for 14 with seven strikeouts and no walks. He’s gotten on base three times in 17 plate appearances — all via the hit by pitch …

* The Cardinals offense has sputtered to three runs or fewer in 13 of their 17 losses in May …

* The Cardinals are 5-10 in games decided by a run …

* The Cards are 10-15 on the road…

* Pauly DeJong has done so many positive things this season that a mini-slump is no big deal, but let us note that in the last six games he’s 0-for-18 with five strikeouts. Even then he’s gotten on base seven times with four walks and three hit by pitches.

* Kolten Wong is batting .165 with a .239 onbase percentage and .266 slug in May.

SECOND GUESSING SHILDTY: He doesn’t have to go crazy and start benching everyone. But shaking up the lineup is a reasonable idea. Two other things: if Yadier Molina can’t swing the bat because of a sore right thumb, then give Matt Wieters a start or two. Yairo Munoz is batting .393 this month but has only 28 at-bats.

GOOD MOVE SHILDTY: Nothing, really. Just a standard game.

BREATHLESS: I subscribe to the Play Index at Baseball Reference. The splits for this particular item only go back to 1908. But as of now — the Cardinals have three games remaining this month — their 7-17 record (.292 winning percentage) for May would be their worst May record for the franchise since 1908.

SHILDTY, PLEASE: After Tuesday night’s loss, Shildt told the media that all of the adversity (the losing) is bringing the team closer, and tighter, and that this will be a blessing.

OK.

Hey, It’s great that the Cardinals are the kind of close-knit team that could organize a helluva bake sale, or lead a food drive, or gather in a circle to hold hands and sing “Kumbaya.” And I for one am happy happy happy that all of this losing is strengthening relationships, reinforcing the bonds.

With that it mind, let’s have some fun here.

Here’s a playlist I’m preparing for Shildty:

1. Umbrella, by Rihanna — with Jay-Z.
2. Lean On Me, by Bill Withers.
3. Count On Me, Bruno Mars.
4. I’ll Stand By You, Pretenders
5. You’ve Got A Friend In Me, Randy Newman.
6. Thank You For Being A Friend, Andrew Gold.
7. We’re Going To Be Friends, White Stripes
8. I’ll Be There For You, The Rembrandts.
9. With A Little Help From My Friends, The Beatles.
10. Waiting On Friend, Rolling Stones.
11. Stand By Me, Ben E. King.
12. You’ve Got A Friend, James Taylor.
13. My Best Friend, Weezer.
14. Happy Together, The Turtles.
15. Big Brother, Kanye West.
16. Thank You Friends, by Big Star.
17. Friendship, by Chris Stapleton.
18. That’s What Friends Are For, by Dionne Warwick.
19. All My Friends, by LCD Soundsystem.
20. Wind Beneath My Wings, by Bette Midler.

ON DECK: Left-handed pitching prospect Genesis Cabrera makes his major league debut and big-league start tonight in Philadelphia. His last two starts at Triple A Memphis were outstanding. But he does have a 5.40 ERA as a starting pitcher in Memphis this season. And as a starter Cabrera has allowed a homer every 13.8 at-bats this season. Aaron Nola goes for the Phillies. First pitch 6:05 p.m. St. Louis time.

Thanks for reading …

-Bernie