The Cardinals finally got back in the win column on Saturday. For the first time all season, we got to see a quality start from a Cardinals pitcher. It was Jordan Montgomery who did the honors, firing seven scoreless innings. He also struck out nine, allowed just three hits, and walked two as St. Louis won by a final of 6-0
And so, the team’s four-game losing skid comes to an end. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still issues to fix. One victory does not magically fix all of the team’s problems, nor does it mean that the pitching woes are cured. And I think it’s safe to say that certain things need to happen for them to claim the top spot in the NL Central. Here are three things that need to happen for the Cardinals to overcome their 3-5 start.
Starting Pitching Needs To Improve
Well, this one’s obvious, isn’t it? I was definitely encouraged to see Montgomery pitch as well as he did last night. But before we can start thinking about the trade deadline, we’re going to need to see what the Cardinals current group of starters can provide. I believe in the ability of Miles Mikolas to put his first two starts behind him and pitch like we know he can. I was also encouraged by Steven Matz this spring.
But Jake Woodford will need to have a bounce-back outing today so that the Cardinals can secure a series win over the Brewers. We’ll also need to see what we saw out of Matz and Mikolas in spring training. I do believe the return of Adam Wainwright will be a boost for this team. I also am impressed by the way Jack Flaherty has been able to limit the damage in each of his first two starts, but he obviously needs to cut down on the walks. As for Montgomery, we can only hope for more of what we saw yesterday.
Cashing In On Opportunities
I’m not super worried about the Cardinals offense. I think I speak for everybody when I say that for the most part, I’ve been very impressed. Jordan Walker has done well, and Nolan Arenado seemed to finally find his groove last night. Friday concerned me a little bit, however.
The Cards had more than their fair share of opportunities against Brandon Woodruff and the Brewers on Friday, but the big hit simply eluded them. Even last night after going up 6-0, they stranded a few runners and missed some chances to extend the lead. I think that in time, this won’t be an issue, but too often during the four-game skid did the Cardinals miss opportunities, especially with runners in scoring position.
The hits certainly were timely last night, with Willson Contreras, Arenado, and Walker all coming through when they needed to. Again, I must reiterate that I don’t think this will be an issue going forward, but they’ll need to do more of what they did last night in order to get back over the .500 mark.
No More Clubhouse Drama
I think it’s safe to say that the rift between Tyler O’Neill and Oli Marmol has been settled.
I was pleased with what Marmol said about O’Neill on Friday and personally believe that if he had just led with that last week, everything would have been fine. But if the Cardinals plan on winning games, they’ll need to move past this issue.
To me, it seems like they have, and I don’t want to continue beating a dead horse. It seems like this issue was just a blip on the radar screen and that O’Neill and Marmol have resolved their differences and moved on. But with this being Adam Wainwright’s final season and the goal being to advance further in the postseason, discord in the clubhouse is the last thing the Cards need.
Today’s game will start at 1:10 p.m. Central Time. Have a Happy Easter and Go Cards!