Bernie’s Daily Redbird Review: Only One Game Was Played, But The Cardinals Lost Twice To The Cubs On Wednesday.

Here’s your Daily Redbird Review …

TRADE-DEADLINE DEPRESSION: No help for rotaton. No credible relief for the As one of our listeners said Thursday, and I paraphrase: At the All-Star break, John Mozeliak challenged his players to step up. And when they stepped up, he stepped out.

Management scorecard: Four consecutive summers of doing virtually nothing at the trade deadline for a contending Cardinal team.

Unless, of course, you were excited by the in-season additions of …

2016: Lefty reliever Zach Duke and journeyman long reliever Jerome Williams.

2017: RH reliever Juan Nicasio, but that trade was made in September, and Nicasio wouldn’t have been eligible for the postseason roster.

2018: Cardinals claimed lefty reliever Tyler Webb on waivers, acquired first baseman Matt Adams, and traded first baseman Luke Voit to the Yankees for LH reliever Chasen Shreve and RH reliever Giovanny Gallegos. (Adams, reduced by the lingering damage of a hand injury, slugged only .333 as a Cardinal in 27 games.)

And while Gallegos turned out to be a great “get,” he wasn’t a factor late last season. Frankly the Cardinals didn’t fully realize or appreciate what they had in Gallegos until the middle of June 2019.

This time around …

The dumpster diving done by the Cardinals for castoff LH relievers Zac Rosscup and Adalberto Mejoa was absurd and embarrassing.

That’s it?

OUT OF TOWN VIEW OF THE CARDINALS

This from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times:

ST. LOUIS — The way players in the clubhouse view the trade deadline, the Cubs took the field Wednesday night already leading the Cardinals 3-0.

Right-hander David Phelps was added to the bullpen after being acquired in a trade Tuesday, and the Cubs dealt for hitters Tony Kemp and Nick Castellanos on deadline day Wednesday.

The Cardinals?

Put it this way: When an unexplained stench wafted strongly enough through the downtown St. Louis area early in the game that writers requested their press-box windows be closed, one scribe joked it was caused by the Cards’ malodorous efforts at the deadline.

The Cards added nobody to their big-league roster, and a few hours later they were knocked out of sole possession of first place when the Cubs beat them 2-0 behind another Cardinal-beating gem by starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks.

“I was pumped about it, man,” said Hendricks (7-7), whose seven scoreless, walk-less innings lifted the Cubs to their 11th consecutive victory against the Cards when he starts. “When you make a move, it adds to the excitement for sure, especially when you add good players like we did.”

 

FIRST PITCH: Through five games of a six-game homestand against the Astros and Cubs, the Cardinals’ offense has looked drowsy against good pitching. And that was certainly the case on Wednesday, with the Cardinals getting blanked 2-0 by starter Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs bullpen.
With the loss, the Cardinals dropped to 2-3 against the Cubs and Astros during the homestand.

And the Cardinals and Cubs are back in a tie for first place in the NL Central.

The Brewers won at Oakland last night and are a game out of first.

The Cubs are 7-4 against the Cards this season.

CARDS KILLER: Maintaining his customary ability to bewilder Cardinals’ hitters with his changeup and other offspeed pitches, Hendricks crafted 7 shutout innings last night with seven strikeouts. Hendricks has been nicked for only one run in three starts and 23 innings against St. Louis this season. He has a career ERA of 2.13 when facing the Cardinas.

BASEBALL HERO: After a shutout loss to the Cubs, the term “Baseball Hero” does not compute.

BLAME GAME: Both Chicago runs were unearned, coming after errors by third baseman Tommy Edman in the sixth and a wild throw by catcher Matt Wieters in the eighth.

TURNING POINT: We have multiple options here, but I’ll go with the Cards’ failure to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third. After a Wieters double and an infield single by pitcher Miles Mikolas, the Cardinals had runners on first and third with no outs. With the Cubs having lost 21 of their last 29 road games, this was a grand opportunity to put more pressure on by pushing the Cubs into an early deficit. But the Cardinals, not the Cubs, flopped under pressure. Edman struck out. Dexter Fowler grounded out. Jose Martinez grounded out. Hendricks and the Cubs escaped.

HEY, YOU DID GOOD: Miles Mikolas pitched well, allowing six hits and a walk and no earned runs in his 5 and ⅔ innings. And a committee of relievers kept the Cardinals close, giving the home team a chance to win, but there was no rally.

LOOK, YOU NEED TO DO BETTER: Let’s talk about the Cardinals’ offense, shall we?

Since scoring five runs in Friday’s series-opening win over the Astros, the Cardinals have squeaked for only six runs in their last four games. And they’re a miserable 3-for-39 (and 13 strikeouts) with runners in scoring position over the past four games.

The Cards went 2-for-15 wth RISP in last night’s loss. Despite hitting five doubles they failed to score, going 0-for-6 with a runner on third base.

Also:

1. Paul DeJong is batting .059 in the first five games of the homestand. He’s struck out on 40 percent of his plate appearances. And with runners in scoring position DeJong is 0-for-7 with four strikeouts.

2. Tommy Edman and Yairo Munoz are cooling down. Edman is batting .233 with a .570 OPS in his last eight games, with nine strikeouts. And Munoz is 1-for-11 since Friday.

3. Tyler O’Neill hasn’t had an extra-base hit in his last 12 games. His last XBH, a homer off Chris Archer in the fifth inning, came in the Cards’ 6-5 win over the Pirates at Busch Stadium on July 17. He’s batting .209 since then.

SECOND-GUESSING SHILDTY: Just a thought: this a good time to give Kolten Wong a chance to bat leadoff, or at No. 2, in the lineup. In 175 plate appearances since the start of June, Wong has an outstanding .376 onbase percentage and a .791 OPS. He draws walks. He doesn’t strike out much.

GOOD MOVE,  SHILDTY: The manager didn’t mess anything up last night, but when most of the lineup has been neutered by good pitching, there isn’t much to talk about.

BREATHLESS: If the visitors beat the Cards tonight at Busch Stadium, it will be the Cubs’ first road-series triumph since they won two of three from the Nationals in Washington on May 17 through 19.

SUMMING IT UP: “We had our chances,” Shildt said. “We had (Hendricks’) back against the wall and he was able to come out and execute pitches. He pitches us tough.”

ON DECK: The rugged ol’ lefty, Jon Lester, goes for the Cubs tonight against Jack Flaherty. Game starts earlier, with the first-pitch scheduled for 6:15.

ABOUT THE CUBS’ BIG PICKUP:  Corner outfielder Nick Castellanos, who bats righthanded, should  give the Cubs a significant boost when facing LH pitching. In 810 career plate appearances against lefties, Castellanos has batted .300 with a .354 OBP and .514 slug … this season, in 82 PA vs. lefts, Castellanos is batting .347 with a .415 OBP and .611 slug. And the Cubs have been mediocre at best against LH pitchers this season:

THAT SAID, CONSIDER THIS: Castellanos should be a DH.  Since the start of the 2016 season Castellanos is a minus 32 in defensive runs saved in right field. (He can’t play center, and hasn’t spent much time in left field.) And while Jason Heyward is a superb right fielder, he’ll have to play center when Castellanos starts. And Heyward is a minus 6 in defensive runs in center field this season .

ABOUT THE CUBS BULLPEN: Lefty Derek Holland was a smart pickup from the Giants and he cost the Cubs nothing. The Cubs primarily will use Holland in a  lefty vs. lefty role. In 91 PA against Holland this season, LH batters are hitting .177 vs. Holland with a .460 OPS … and RH reliever David Phelps, the St. Louis native, had a 2.16 ERA for Toronto until allowing three earned runs in his most recent performance.

ABOUT JEDD GYORKO: If the former Cardinal infielder can stay healthy, he has a chance to be an effective platoon piece for the Dodgers, sharing the second base job with Max Muncy, Gyorko, who bats right, has a career .464 slug and .809 slug vs. LHP. Muncy, who swings left, has a career .500 slug and .862 OPS vs. RHP. (Since the start of last season, Muncy has a .955 OPS vs. righties.)

Thanks for reading …

–Bernie