It was yet another tough loss for the Cardinals tonight, as the offense was stifled by Sonny Gray. He went seven innings and allowed just two runs on 77 pitches. Matthew Liberatore started for the Cardinals and ultimately had a clunker, giving up five runs over 5.2 innings.
This is one reason why I wanted the Cardinals to grab a controllable starter for next year at the deadline. Liberatore has not succeeded in his chances that the Cardinals have given him. Now, the Cardinals go into the offseason having to fill three rotation spots and overhaul their bullpen.
The game was essentially over before it started. Liberatore allowed four runs in the second inning, and one of his inherited runners scored in the sixth. The offense never recovered. Below, we’ll break down the game and what went wrong, again.
Offense goes flat
I’m really getting tired of these “scheduled” days off for guys like Nolan Arenado and Willson Contreras. I know the Cardinals aren’t playing for anything at this point but come on. When you’re facing Sonny Gray, you need your best bats in the lineup, and having guys like Taylor Motter and Jose Fermin start just doesn’t do it for me.
This proved to be a problem in the ninth after Andrew Knizner’s two-out single. With Arenado, Contreras, and Tyler O’Neill lurking on the bench, Oli Marmol opted to stick with Motter, who was hitting .187 heading into the at-bat. Motter struck out to end the game.
I don’t want to hate on Motter, because I don’t have anything against him. He’s just not the guy you want at the plate in that spot, and the fact that Oli continues to give him all this leeway is becoming frustrating. I thought for sure that he would go to Arenado there.
Motter was simply overmatched against Jhoan Duran, who blew him away with fastballs.
Burly hits a bomb
One encouraging sign is the resurgence of Alec Burleson. He had a good month of July and is carrying that into August. He hit a big solo home run in the bottom of the sixth to bring the Cardinals to within 5-2.
I’ll admit that I’ve been one of Burleson’s harshest critics this year. But he appears to be turning it around, and if he keeps this up, I’m all for giving him more at-bats. That home run was a no-doubter and brought a little life into the crowd.
The Cardinals will send Adam Wainwright to the mound tomorrow as he searches for win No. 199.