Bernie’s Daily Redbird Review: Marcell Ozuna’s Injury Is A Bad Break, And Really Bad Timing

Your Daily Redbird Review:

FIRST PITCH: The Cardinals lost the weekend set at San Diego, getting outscored 18-3 in the series through the fifth inning of Sunday’s game. But after leading 3-0, the Padres screwed up multiple times on defense or in base running and gave the Cardinals a chance to make a comeback. An unlikely source, backup catcher Matt Wieters, gave the Cardinals a 5-3 win in 11 innings.

The victory ended a five-game losing streak marked by a phlegmatic offense. In losing the five straight the Cardinals scored only 10 total runs. And they managed to score in only five of their 45 innings played.

THE LATEST BODY BLOW: Mired in a prolonged slump as a team, the Cardinals got walloped by an untimely injury when Marcell Ozuna went to the IL with two fractured fingers. Subtracting 20 homers, 62 RBIs and a .515 slugging percentage from this lineup is a serious loss.

WHAT’S NEXT?  Tyler O’Neill. Play him.

GROUNDHOG DAY:  The 41-and-41 Cardinals are back at .500. After a brief upturn the Cardinals have lost seven of their last 11 games. And this is an important stat to track: after failing to win the series at San Diego the Cards are only 10-9 in a 39-game stretch that features games against teams that were a little above or below average … or just plain bad.

No problem, people! In the Groundhog Day National League Central, it doesn’t matter if you lose a bunch of games. The Cardinals still remain only 3 games out of first place in this division’s unsightly potato-sack race. And here’s some Happy Talk for you: the Cardinals actually gained a half-game in the division race in June. They were 3 and ½ games out at the end of May.

Here’s how NL Central teams fared in the month of June:

Cardinals, 13-13
Brewers, 13-13
Cubs, 14-15
Reds, 12-13
Pirates, 11-15

Does anyone want to win this thing?

BASEBALL HERO: How about Wieters? Mostly because of a lack of playing time and swings against left-handed pitching, he’d been 0 for 19 against lefties this season before launching the surprise-party two-run homer in the 11th to give the Cardinals their first smiley-face emoji since defeating the Angels eight days earlier. Before depositing Sunday’s homer Wieters had on two hits in his last 34 plate appearances with a strikeout rate of 44 percent.

BLAME GAME: The Cardinals had just five extra-base hits in the three games at Petco Park and struck out in 26 percent of their plate appearances. They batted .209 with a .291 slug in the three games. The month of June is in the books … and it was a dreadful month for the Cardinals who averaged 3.5 runs per game and slugged .357 with a .643 OPS.

TURNING POINT: In Sunday’s game the Cardinals were having another zombie-like day in the batter’s box, losing 3-0, when Yairo Munoz delivered a two-out, two-run single to energize his team and cut the Padres lead to 3-2. If Munoz doesn’t come through there, I have to believe the Cardinals would have staggered to another loss.

HEY, YOU DID GOOD: Miles Mikolas gave the Cardinals a solid start (six innings, three runs) but the bullpen warrants substantial praise after shutting the Padres down over the final five innings. Kudos to Giovanny Gallegos, Andrew Miller, Carlos Martinez, Tyler Webb and Dominic Leone. Martinez in particular was excellent in his 2 and ⅔ innings: one hit, one walk, four strikeouts.

Heads-up baserunning by Goldschmidt in the eighth — he took advantage of Padres’ defensive miscues — led to Goldy scoring the tying run to make it 3-3 … and with two out in the 11th, Kolten Wong hustled to reach first on an infield hit and that kept the inning going to set up Wieters’ game-winning blast.

CONGRATS: To shortstop Paul DeJong for being named to the NL All-Star team for the first time. It was deserved.

LOOK, YOU NEED TO DO BETTER: Offense, offense, offense, offense, offense.

SECOND GUESSING SHILDTY: Nothing right now. He’s been changing the lineup. He benched Matt Carpenter. He’s trying to do a remix. As I’ve been saying for a year, the problem is a flawed roster. Except that its even worse this season.  Take Goldschmidt for example. In June he batted .181, had a .284 OBP, and slugged .309. And his RBI count was five.

GOOD MOVE SHILDTY: Repeat: he’s making lineup changes. He’s playing rookie Tommy Edman at third base. Options are very limited. In a separate note, Shildt’s handling of the bullpen has been strong.

NEXT UP: The Cardinals are off today before starting a three-game series at Seattle on Tuesday night.

Thanks for reading …

–Bernie