Here’s your Daily Redbird Review …
FIRST PITCH: In the first of three at Seattle the Cardinals rallied from a three-run deficit to level the game at 4-4 but lost 5-4. The winning run came on a solo homer from Tim Beckham off Cards reliever Giovanny Gallegos in the eighth.
TRENDING: With this latest loss the Cardinals:
The Cardinals, however, remain a workable 3 and ½ games out of first place in the charitable and enigmatic NL Central. What a weird division.
TIME TO SIGH … The Cubs lost again last night. The Brewers list again last night. The Cardinals lost again last night.
The Cardinals are appreciative.
The Cardinals are also only a half-game ahead of the fourth-place Pirates, and two games above the fifth-place Reds.
Happy Talkers will dwell on the small gap separating the third-place Cardinals from first place.
Grounded adults who aren’t Diaper Babies will also take a moment to point out that the Cardinals are closer to last place than first.
BASEBALL HERO: I’ve been saying this all season: Yairo Munoz should be playing more. And that’s especially true considering the comatose state of the St. Louis offense. Tuesday night Munoz gave the Cardinals hope and a tie score with a two-out, two-run homer in the 7th to make it 4-4. Sunday, Munoz triggered a comeback in San Diego with a two-run single that cut the Padres’ lead to 3-2.
Munoz batted leadoff in place of the ailing Matt Carpenter, who was placed on the IL Tuesday with a lower-back strain. Munoz should stay in the lineup. On the current road trip Munoz is 5 for 11 with a homer and five RBIs. He can play multiple positions. He competes with an edge. There’s nothing soft about him. He’s been a good two-strike hitter. Let him eat.
In 82 starts over the last two seasons Munoz is batting .288 with a .360 OBP and .424 slug.
That alone warrants more playing time.
Unless, of course, winning is a secondary concern.
BLAME GAME: I’m not a heartless person, so I admire and respect Jack Flaherty for wanting to make his scheduled start last night, even though he was painfully grieving the death of his friend, Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs. And I think we all have real empathy for Flaherty, the Angels and all MLB players who are mourning the shocking passing of the young Skaggs.
Flaherty gave it his best, and pitched with all of his heart. I wish, for his own peace and comfort, that Flaherty would have pitched a great game.
Unfortunately it didn’t happen. Flaherty lasted 4 and ⅔ innings, giving up seven hits, four walks, a homer and four earned runs.
The walks really hurt. One was a bases-loaded walk in the Mariners’ two-run second. A leadoff walk in the fifth preceded a two-run homer by Seattle’s Omar Narvaez.
In his last five starts Flaherty has a 7.82 ERA, a growing walk rate, and has yielded an alarming average of 2.84 homers per nine innings. His ERA on the season stands at 4.90.
Tough first half for Jack. Hopefully the second half will be more successful and satisfying.
TURNING POINT: After Munoz tied the game in the 7th the Cardinals had momentum and a good chance to win this game. And while many understandably will blame Gallegos for the loss because he was struck for the winning homer, I’m going to put a light on the hitters. After the Munoz homer the Cardinals finished the game by going 1-for-8 with six strikeouts. From the final out of the seventh through the first out in the ninth the Cardinals had a stretch of five consecutive strikeouts: Jose Martinez, Paul DeJong, Paul Goldschmidt, Tyler O’Neill and Yadier Molina. Just awful.
HEY, YOU DID GOOD: Jose Martinez homered twice to keep the Cardinals in the game… four Cardinals relievers combined to pitch 3 and ⅓ innings and give up one hit and a run … and I’m not going to slam Gallegos for one mistake. Coming into Tuesday, Gallegos had given up one run in his last 15 appearances (17 innings) for an 0.53 ERA and 34.4 percent strikeout — and a tiny 1.6% walk rate.
LOOK, YOU NEED TO DO BETTER: The Cardinals were 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position … since June 1 the Cardinals rank 26th in the majors in batting average (.238) and 27th in OPS (.683) when hitting with runners in scoring position… Paul Goldschmidt was 1-for-3 but struck out twice; over his last 26 games he’s batting .172 with a .274 onbase percentage and .269 slug … since returning from the IL where ne missed time with a strained right thumb, Yadier Molina is batting .250 with a .271 OBP, .294 slug and two RBIs in 70 plate appearances.
ON DECK: The Cardinals will start Adam Wainwright vs. the former Cardinal, Mike Leake in game two of the series. Former Cardinals Marco Gonzales and Leake, members of the Seattle rotation, have combined for 2.5 WAR this season. The entire group of Cardinals starters have combined for 3.4 WAR.
Thanks for reading…
I’ll be off for a few days off…
Have a wonderful 4th of July.