When will it end? What’s it going to take? How long before changes are made? And no, I don’t mean rester moves. I mean actual organizational changes. Tonight’s game is on Oli Marmol. Plain and simple. Yes, the Cardinals failing to hit with runners in scoring position was a problem that needs to be fixed. But I wholeheartedly believe that if Marmol doesn’t go to Jordan Hicks there in the seventh, the Cardinals win the game, and the losing skid is over.
I was there watching it all unfold. It was tough to watch. But enough of me ranting. Let’s get to some actual takeaways from tonight’s gut wrenching loss to the Tigers.
Another Strong Start From Montgomery
For once, starting pitching was not the issue. Jordan Montgomery was fantastic. After Javier Baez hit a first inning homer, Montgomery settled right back down and gave the Cardinals six strong innings. The offense even backed him up with some timely hitting, despite leaving nine runners on base by the end of the game. Andrew Knizner homered to get the Cardinals on the board, and they took advantage of some defensive miscues by the Tigers to manufacture two more.
Montgomery was close to 100 pitches, so I wasn’t too frustrated when he was pulled. But he sure as heck deserved a lot better than a no decision tonight, especially after striking out six and walking just one.
Bad Umpiring Leading To Ejections
There were some very questionable strike calls that went against the Cardinals tonight. I think I speak for everybody when I say that I was very frustrated by the umpiring crew tonight. By the end of the game, it was hard to tell if people were booing the team or the umpires. Maybe a little bit of both, or a lot of both.
But it all came to a head in the bottom of the ninth. Bench coach Joe McEwing was tossed. Marmol went out to plead his case, but he too was subsequently tossed. Dusty Blake and Stubby Clapp also had words with our umpires. After Dylan Carlson struck out to end the ballgame, the Cardinals wanted a review to see if he might have foul tipped it.
Blake had his hand up in an attempt to challenge the call, but was brushed off. And so, the game ended in bitter disappointment once again, as the Cardinals lost their seventh game in a row.
Poor Decision Making
Okay, now back to the rant. I thought Oli Marmol managed the game quite well, with one notable exception, that being his decision to use Hicks. I was already frustrated by the way he constructed the lineup, once again leaving Brendan Donovan and Nolan Gorman out against the lefty. But all hell broke loose in the seventh when he tapped Hicks to hold the lead.
I knew it was bad news when I saw Hicks warming up. And soon, our worst fears were realized. In a matter of minutes, the game had turned on its ear, which once again leads me to question how long it’s going to take before some serious changes are made. Marmol has made some very poor managerial decisions, and John Mozeliak did a poor job of constructing this roster. Something has to give.
For the first time since 2017, the Cardinals have lost seven in a row and are also in more unfamiliar territory. They were never 13 games under .500 during Yadier Molina’s career. They hit that mark tonight. Tomorrow’s game starts at 1:15 as Adam Wainwright makes his return to the mound. Let’s hope he can play the role of stopper like he has before.