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Bullpen collapses again as series win eludes Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Another tough one today. It looked good at first. Lars Nootbaar led off the game with a home run on the first pitch. But anything the Cardinals did, the Cubs did better.

Chicago tied it up in the second on a hit from Christopher Morel, and after Paul Goldschmidt and Willson Contreras drove in a pair, the Cubs punched right back. Nolan Gorman hit a bomb in the fifth to put the Cardinals back in front before Contreras knocked in another with a double.

Disaster struck in the bottom of the sixth, after the Cardinals had once again punched back and taken the lead. The bullpen gave up a critical three spot and the Cards never recovered. Let’s get into some takeaways from today.

Contreras exits

I was confused by this at first, but after discovering it was due to an injury, I was concerned. The Cardinals can ill afford to lose Contreras right now. I know his defense hasn’t been good, but we need his bat.

It was due to right hip tightness today. I’m personally glad that he appeared to be okay after taking one off the hand yesterday, but this was yet another issue that the Cardinals ran into today. I imagine he’ll be out of the lineup tomorrow, which is not good.

Oli goes off, gets tossed

Another thing I was kind of pissed about yesterday was the fact that Oli Marmol didn’t do much to stick up for Alec Burleson, but he certainly made up for it today. When Nolan Arenado protested a strike call, Oli was hollering from the dugout before Corey Blaser, the home plate umpire tossed him.

This was more akin to what we saw last year at Wrigley when Oli earned his first ejection. He went off at Blaser, and when Ron Kulpa came over to break things up, Oli turned his attention to yesterday’s villain. At the end, he waved Kulpa off, dropped an F-bomb and walked away, which was pretty badass if you ask me.

But the umpires were no better today than they were yesterday, and I would expect more of the same tomorrow, and maybe some more ejection.

Bullpen chokes again

This is where things went south very quickly. Miles Mikolas was bad today, but even his clunker didn’t compare to the implosion of Zack Thompson, who couldn’t find the strike zone. To make matters worse, Joe McEwing left him in to face Cody Bellinger, the Cubs hottest hitter. Bellinger drove in two to put the Cubs ahead.

Drew VerHagen made his return from the injured list, and while another run scored, it was charged to Thompson. To VerHagen’s credit, he did a good job of putting out the fire, but it was the walks that killed the Cardinals today.

Jordan Montgomery gets the start tomorrow as the Cardinals look to split before heading to Arizona.