Good morning. The Daily Redbird Review…
FIRST PITCH: In recent days Cardinals manager Mike Shildt has been fussing about his team not getting enough credit for winning. Not sure why the Cardinals are requesting that fans and media be impressed and happy over a mini-run of success against a couple of mediocre teams, the Mets and Marlins.
The absurdity of the Cards lobbying for praise was exposed during the four-game series against the Marlins at Busch Stadium. In losing 7-6 in 11 innings Thursday night, the Cardinals let a series win slip away. The home team ended up splitting the four-game set against the 27-46 Marlins, who have the National League’s worst winning percentage at .369. The Cardinals and Marlins crammed their entire season series into the last two weeks, and the best the Cards could do is go 4-3. Sorry, but that isn’t good enough.
A polite and sincere request to Shildt and the Cardinals: please raise your standards.
HAPPY TALK! Hey, the Cardinals are only 3 games out of first place in the NL Central. That’s a positive, right?
NOT SO HAPPY TALK: Actually, being 3 games out of first place in the NL Central should be a source of irritation and frustration. If the Cardinals consistently played better baseball, they’d be in first place and would have a solid lead over the Cubs and Brewers. But don’t let me slow the Happy Talk Train. All aboard!
CARDS KILLERS: In the seven games against St. Louis, Miami’s starting pitchers had a 1.52 ERA over 41 and ⅓ innings and held the Cardinals to a .190 batting average and .537 OPS, primarily because of a 27.4 percent strikeout rate. In the four-game series at Busch, Miami starting pitchers had a 1.14 ERA in 23 and ⅔ innings and allowed a .186 average and .503 OPS. In the four games the Miami starters whiffed the Cardinals for a huge strikeout rate of 28.7%.
In case you may be wondering: Marlins’ starting pitchers have a 3.98 ERA and 21 percent K rate against all other teams.
BASEBALL HERO: The Cardinals lost the game, but kudos to rookie infielder Tommy Edman, who cranked his first big-league homer, a two-run shot in the eighth, to tie the game at 5-5. But the Cardinals couldn’t take advantage of Edman’s jolt of electricity by proceeding to win the game. Nope.
BLAME GAME: If you want to holler about pinch-runner Jack Flaherty getting picked off at second base to end the game, go ahead. He made a mistake. Then again, he’s a pitcher.
But I’m going to point to a STL offense that scored only 13 runs in four games against Miami pitching. Granted, the Cardinals showed some urgency and fight by making a comeback and scoring six runs. But again, let’s have some higher standards. This team should have scored more than six runs on Thursday but left runs on the table by going 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position. For the series the Cardinals were 3 for 24 with RISP for a .125 average.
TURNING POINT: The Cardinals went 2 for 11 with two strikeouts and a double play from the point of Edman’s tying homer to the conclusion of the 10th inning. Given that Edman hit his home run with nobody out in the eighth, the Cardinals had three innings to push across the go-ahead run and likely win the game but failed to get the job done.
HEY, YOU DID GOOD: In addition to his home run, Edman singled and had a 2-for-2 game with a run and two RBIs … John Gant pitched another scoreless inning of relief … Yadier Molina had three hits and a walk and an RBI double in the 11th … Jose Martinez had three hits but also hit into a double play in the bottom of the ninth.
LOOK, YOU NEED TO DO BETTER: Cards lefty reliever Andrew Miller was taken deep by Miami’s JT Riddle, a left-handed hitter, for the game-winning two-run homer in the 11th. The Cardinals front office anticipated that Miller would be a valuable shutdown reliever but that hasn’t been the case. Most surprisingly is Miller’s poor numbers against LH batters; they’ve have three homers, a .457 slugging percentage and .815 OPS against him so far this season.
Matt Carpenter went 0 for 6 with two strikeouts. The Cards’ leadoff spot continues to be a drag on the offense; Carpenter and others that have taken turns in the No. 1 spot have combined for a .199 average (29th in the majors) and .647 OPS (27th.)
SECOND-GUESSING SHILDTY: Shildt criticized himself, sort of, for Flaherty getting picked off second base. “I put him in that spot,” Shildt said after the game. “I have to take responsibilities for it. It’s the right move. The reality is he wasn’t prepped well enough and I take responsibility of that. Put him in a spot where he wasn’t able to have success. I’ll take responsibility.”
GOOD MOVE, SHILDTY: Edman is an intriguing talent, and Shildt did well to get him into Thursday’s game. Frankly, we’d like to see more of Edman. Stir it up.
BREATHLESS: Former Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, age 39, comes to town with a .439 slugging percentage, 22 extra-base hits, and 40 RBIs.
Cardinals’ first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, age 31, has a .435 slug, 22 extra-base hits and 31 RBIs.
ON DECK: Welcome back, Albert!
Thanks for reading … and have a great weekend.