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Cardinals Let Series Finale Slip vs. Guardians

St. Louis Cardinals v Cleveland Guardians Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images

I don’t even know what to say. It’s hard to believe what I just watched. I knew when Brad Thompson said that Ryan Helsley “checked all the boxes” and was good to go for today that this wasn’t going to be an easy one.

Sure enough, Helsley did not check all the boxes, threw seven straight balls at one point and put the winning runs on base. Jose Ramirez then delivered a back breaker, a two-run double into the right-center field gap to score two runs and hand the Cardinals perhaps their toughest loss this season after they had come to within one out of securing a series win.

The Cardinals are now 24-31 and likely to fall to five games behind the Brewers in the NL Central. Let’s get into some takeaways.

Monty Bounces Back

Looking on the bright side, I was impressed by what I saw from Jordan Montgomery. The wheels began to fall off late, but he did a good job of holding the Guardians in check over his five innings of work. He was robbed of a much-needed win today.

But he only walked one batter and managed to strike out three, allowing two runs on seven hits. It’s just a shame he wasn’t rewarded with a win for his efforts.

Good Bullpen Work, For The Most Part

The bullpen was mostly good today. After Montgomery’s exit, Jordan Hicks came in and gave the Cardinals two scoreless innings. I wrote a piece earlier this year about how it was time to move on from Hicks. Fortunately, it appears I was wrong about that.

Oli has been using him quite well and he’s responded to the challenge in his recent games. Drew VerHagen is another matter, and has not looked good in his last two outings. Fortunately, Genesis Cabrera came in and induced an inning-ending double play in the eighth to send us to the top of the ninth.

Bats Are Cold... Again

I know it’s just the ebbs and flows of a season and that you’ll have ups and downs. But ever since the Dodgers series, the Cardinals bats appear to have gone missing. Home runs by Alec Burleson, Andrew Knizner, and Paul Goldschmidt each hit home runs for St. Louis today. Other than that, the Cardinals couldn’t muster anything else.

Perhaps a lineup change is in order. I’ve noticed that Paul DeJong has really quieted down as of late, as have Nolan Gorman, Nolan Arenado, and Willson Contreras, the latter of whom was not in the lineup today. But I think it’s clear that the current setup isn’t working and for the Cardinals to get better use out of their offense, it might be time for a slight shakeup.

Adam Wainwright will take the mound tomorrow for a Memorial Day matinee with the Royals in town.