Daily Redbird Review: The Buzzkill Cardinals Stall Again To Complete A Losing Homestand

Here’s your Daily Redbird Review…

On a day when Mike Shildt went on a bizarre tirade in defense of his underachieving team — all but demanding praise — the fiery Redbirds responded to their skipper’s criticism of the critics by getting cranked up, playing with maximum intensity, and doing everything possible to stand up for their manager.

The Cardinals scored a bushel basket of runs, played their sharpest and finest game of the season, and mauled the overwhelmed A’s by a score of 12-1. And with the Blues and their new buddy Stanley watching from the suite level, the Cards reanimated themselves and competed with the maniacal fervor we’d seen from the Blues during the epic run to the Stanley Cup.

Actually, well, no …

That didn’t really happen …

Except for the part about the Blues winning the Stanley Cup … T

THAT most definitely is a real thing …

And surreal as well.

Here’s what happened Wednesday night: The Cardinals offered the public one of their dullest and lamest performances of the season, scratching for five hits, and getting blanked. The rollicking Redbirds lost the game (2-0) and the series (0-2) to the A’s to complete an inspirational (I’M LYING) home stand.

The truth hurts Shildt, but here’s the truth: in terms of bottom-line record it was an icky home stay at Busch, with the Cardinals going 4-5 against the Marlins, Angels and A’s. They won a series from the Angels, lost a series to the A’s, and played the mighty Marlins to a four-game draw.

The Cardinals, as Shildty will tell you, remain thick in the slop of the NL Central race, lurking only 2.5 games out of first.

Much thanks to the Cubs, who are 6-10 in their last 16.

And a shoutout to the pitching-poor Brewers; they’re doing their part to keep the Cardinals close by going 18-22 in their last 40, and 3-9 in last 12.

FIRST PITCH: With the series loss to the A’s, the Cardinals are 12-10 in June and have lost 10 of their last 19 games including their last three. The Blues lugged the Stanley Cup to Busch Stadium for a celebration before Wednesday’s game. And the Cardinals were a total buzzkill with their nap-time offense.

CARDS KILLER: Someone named Daniel Mengden shut the Cardinals down with a scoreless six-inning start in which he scattered four hits and one walk while striking out five. The Cardinals did not score a single run against Oakland’s pitchers over the final 16 innings of the series.

BASEBALL HERO:  Adam Wainwright was terrific, allowing two runs (on solo homers) in his 6 and ⅔ tough-minded innings. Wainwright fought his way out of multiple jams. He out of jams. He gave up seven hits, walked only one, and struck out nine.

In eight starts at Busch Stadium this season Wainwright has been dinged for only 13 earned runs. But run support (ahem) is a serious issue for the Cardinals … and especially Wainwright. At 3.6 runs per start, he’s received the fourth-lowest run support among qualifying National League starting pitchers this season.

BLAME GAME: No offense, Shildty, but the problem is exactly that: no offense. The Cardinals averaged 3.2 runs per game during their nine-game residency at Busch. And 51 of their 70 hits were singles.

TURNING POINT:  Tommy Edman singled to leadoff the first, then was stranded on strikeouts by Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong and a ground-out by Marcell Ozuna. With two out in the fourth Edman singled again in an attempt to jump-start something … and Goldy struck out.

HEY, YOU DID GOOD: Wainwright, Edman and relievers Giovanny Gallegos and John Gant. And it’s always fun to watch second baseman Kolten Wong play his excellent and exciting brand of defense.

LOOK, YOU NEED TO DO BETTER: The Cardinals went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position in the two losses to Oakland.

Goldschmidt and DeJong switched lineup spots, with Goldy returning to the No. 2 hole, and DeJong moving down to No. 3. It didn’t matter; Goldschmidt and DeJong combined to go 1 for 8 with five strikeouts. The hit was a single by Goldschmidt.

In being subdued by Mengden on Wednesday night the Cardinals lost to a marginal major-league starter who recently gave up five runs and five hits in 4 and ⅓ innings against Memphis, the Cards’ Triple A farm club.

So yeah, one can state with a clear conscience that the big-league club in St. Louis that’s been funded with a $162 million player payroll should do better against than Mengden than the minor-league affiliate in Memphis. But that’s just me being negative, right?

SECOND GUESSING SHILDTY:  The poorly timed whine-fest before yesterday’s game was an embarrassment. And that’s coming from a pro-Shildt member of the evil media.

GOOD MOVE SHILDTY:  Edman at third base, leading off, two more hits. The rookie infielder is 8 for 19 with a 1.187 OPS since being promoted from Memphis.

BREATHLESS: Here are the bottom eight National League records since May 2:

Reds, 23-25
Padres, 23-26
Pirates, 23-27
Diamondbacks, 23-28
Giants, 21-27
Marlins, 21-27
Mets, 22-29
Cardinals, 20-29

ON DECK:  The Cardinals are off today and on the way to San Diego for a three-game series with the Padres that begins Friday night. From there the nine-game trip continues to Seattle and San Francisco, leading the Cardinals into the All-Star break.

Thanks for reading …

–Bernie