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Cardinals go lifeless in London, drop series opener

Chicago Cubs v. St. Louis Cardinals Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Chip Caray said it best after a blowout loss to the Giants loss recently. He called that game “a clunker from top to bottom.” The same can be said for today, I think. While it was certainly cool to see the Cardinals playing in a new environment in front of a large crowd, the game itself was a letdown.

Adam Wainwright was terrible. He gave up seven runs over three innings, including two bombs to Ian Happ. Meanwhile, Justin Steele pitched a gem for the Cubs, striking out eight batters over six innings of one-run ball. The lone Cardinals run was driven in by Paul Goldschmidt in the bottom of the sixth.

But every time it looked like things were going to turn around, the Cardinals committed the sin of omission and failed to capitalize, hitting into multiple double plays. The only bright spot of the game was Steven Matz, who dazzled in relief after Wainwright was chased. Below, we’ll get into a few takeaways from today’s brutal loss in London.

Waino Comes Up Short

This was tough to see, especially since Waino had pitched really well in his past few starts. Today was a different story, however. After a loss to the Nationals, the Cardinals needed him to deliver a strong start and play the role of stopper as he had against the Mets.

He was unable to do that today, as his ERA skyrocketed to 6.56 on the season. He also allowed 11 hits and failed to record a strikeout. Once again, the starting rotation failed the Cardinals, and we’re all left with a painful reminder that in the offseason, Mo was fully content with the current group, which currently is not getting the job done, despite what spin he may try to put on it.

This is not a knock on Waino. While he didn’t pitch well, he had been pitching quite a bit better. But it all harkens back to the front office’s failure to add pitching.

Matz Dominates

On the positive side, Steven Matz looked really good today out of the bullpen. He allowed just two hits, walked one, and struck out two over 3.1 innings of work, holding the Cubs at bay until he was replaced by Jake Woodford, who also pitched quite well.

I know Matz was signed to be a starter, but his work out of the bullpen lately has been very impressive, and if he’s going to continue that, then there’s no reason to take him out of the pen. As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The rotation is certainly broken, but Matz’s relief work has been quite good since being moved out of the rotation, and I really liked what I saw out of him this afternoon.

The Cardinals will look to secure a winning road trip tomorrow. With Jack Flaherty already scratched, tomorrow’s starter is unknown at the moment, but it might not be a bad idea to give the ball to Jordan Montgomery.