The struggles continue. About the only positive out of this game was that Luken Baker finally made his MLB debut and picked up his first Major League hit. Andrew Knizner hit a home run too, but it was too little and too late for this team.
Miles Mikolas gave the Cardinals five innings of two-run ball, taking the loss against Rich Hill, who dominated for the Pirates today. He scattered 10 hits and struck out two batters. He also didn’t walk anybody.
I think we all knew things weren’t going to be perfect for this team in 2023 after the failure to add starting pitching, but I never thought it would come to this. There’s no consistency with the offense and the pitching flat out sucks.
The Cardinals are now 25-35 and will most likely soon be 7.5 games out of first, just a week after coming to within four games. Let’s get into some takeaways.
No life from the bats
For about a two-week stretch, the Cardinals offense was one of the best in baseball. Now, it masquerades as perhaps the worst. The bats just aren’t getting anything done. Andrew Knizner’s home run was all that happened today.
The amount of times the Cardinals stranded runners is appalling to me. With players such as Nolan Gorman, Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and Willson Contreras, that shouldn’t be the case. But it is. The Cards were held to five hits today and still could not solve David Bednar.
At a certain point, there’s going to need to be a lineup change. But Oli Marmol continues to show hesitance to change anything, even when it’s not working. The Cardinals left eight runners on base today and went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
I know that in the standings the Cardinals haven’t lost all their progress from a few weeks ago. 7.5 games back is quite a bit better than 10 games back. But the Cardinals had come to within six games of .500 and were unable to get any closer.
They failed to defeat the Reds and Guardians, as well as the Royals. And for the first time since April of 2018, they were swept by the Pirates. Part of me wonders if the Cardinals can only win against good teams. Then again, the Pirates are over the .500 mark and are clearly much better than we all gave them credit for.
Part of it is just the twists and turns of a baseball season. But for a minute, I thought the Cardinals were back and ready to go on a run. I think we all did. But what did we know? The Cardinals are now back to 10 games below the .500 mark and seemingly have no hope of turning this thing around.
To make matters worse, they’ll have to deal with the Rangers this week, who have the best run differential in all of baseball. If I’m being completely honest, this series is likely going to be what defines the season for the Cards.