I don’t have the spirit to write today guys. I don’t know what else to say. There’s really only so many variations of “things will get better” before it starts getting annoying. And I don’t really feel like writing about that. I don’t feel like writing about what’s wrong. I don’t feel like writing about how to fix it. This site has written some variation of all these articles for the past month. I’m done. I’m ready to write about something else, but the Cardinals have not given me anything else.
Losses when leading at the start of the ninth:#stlcards: 3— Joe Sheehan (@joe_sheehan) May 4, 2023
Rest of NL Central: 2
You just have to laugh. You want to blame somebody for that, but you can’t. You can’t blame Oli Marmol for the fact that Ryan Helsley has three blown saves already. I initially blamed him for not keeping Helsley in for a third inning, but this is definitely a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. As pointed out in the comments, Marmol did what the fans wanted him to do last night during the Wild Card series. And while he had more pitches, he also did not have two different warm-ups either. Teams factor in warm-up pitches.
And Gallegos has been lights out this year. I mean again reflecting on it, this is a hindsight call, through and through. He put the best relievers in the game in the highest leverage spots and they failed him. That’s not on Marmol. Marmol is not to blame for why the Cards keep blowing leads the few times they get them.
One probably inaccurate thought: Gallegos seems like the worst elite reliever I’ve ever seen. How does that make sense? Well the stats are undeniable. He is an elite reliever. But he also strikes me as the perfect example of command versus control. He has great control. He doesn’t walk hitters. I don’t think he has great command. He throws pitches over the middle of the plate all the freaking time and usually gets away with it. So whenever he does get blown up, it really doesn’t feel like a surprise. I don’t know how to distinguish between the times throwing down the middle works versus doesn’t, but he throws it down the middle more than any good pitcher I think I’ve ever seen.
This is not the kind of article where I point you to stats that confirm what I just said. This is an unfiltered thought based on years of watching him pitch. For all I know, everything I said was false. But it’s funny because I’m nervous about Helsley pitching, and Thompson pitching and most relievers because they suddenly lose control and can’t throw strikes. In theory, I should be comfortable with Gallegos because he doesn’t walk many. But I’m always afraid of that down the middle pitch. He just seems more prone to getting rocked than other relievers, even though I am sure it’s not reflected in the stats.
These are gut feeling last place team thoughts here, not thoughts from an analytical mind. Cannot emphasize that enough. The Cardinals have sucked the analyzing part of my brain away from me.
Last thought before I exit: For the love of god, give Adam Wainwright some damn respect people. I am so annoyed at the fanbase regarding Wainwright. I hate using this comparison because I love the guy, but you would think we were running 2021 Matt Carpenter out there. Or the pitching equivalent. Does anybody realize that Adam Wainwright was actually good last year?
I know he’s not going to “save the pitching staff” but I don’t understand why there’s a perception that he is for sure going to be terrible. A year after we all witnessed Albert Pujols defy the odds, it would be much MUCH less weird if Wainwright was good. It wouldn’t even be that weird actually. He’s done it for four straight years.
Yeah he’s 41. Yeah his velocity is a concern. But why not wait until he sucks before we declare he sucks? Has he not earned some benefit of the doubt here? The tone around Wainwright coming back has annoyed the hell out of me if I’m being honest. We should be excited about this? At the very least, he can reach the bar that Jake Woodford has set. Like come on.
Adam Wainwright is one of my favorite players ever, favorite humans to ever don a Cardinal uniform, and I’m going to be very sad when I can’t watch him pitch anymore. When things are working, he’s incredibly fun to watch pitch. And when he’s struggling, he seems to use every ounce of craftiness to will himself to a decent start, and most of the time he does. And the end result: a 3.71 ERA last year, 3.05 the year before that, 3.15 in the shortened season, and 4.19 in 2019. The advanced stats aren’t quite as kind (though he’s been worth 6.6 fWAR in the past two years!), but there’s that craftiness I described: he seems like an advanced stats beater.
Right now this season sucks, and Adam Wainwright being on the team makes it suck a little less. Maybe some of that magic that Pujols received will hit Wainwright, and maybe Wainwright can send some magic to the team.