Apr 24, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny (right) gets thrown out of the game by second base umpire Bill Welke in the tenth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Chicago Cubs defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-US PRESSWIRE

Rants Daily: Cardinals suffer second straight walkoff loss to Cubs, 3-2


For the second straight day the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen could not hold a lead, only this time the Chicago Cubs won the game in the tenth inning by a score of 3-2 and received some outside help along the way.

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny gets tossed for the first time in his career. (Mandatory Credit: David Banks-US PRESSWIRE)

The Cubs were assisted by what looked like a blown call on a steal of second base by Tony Campana, who ended up scoring the winning run on a Alfonso Soriano base hit to second baseman Tyler Greene, which probably should have been called an error and played cleanly. This came after the Cubs first run was also a disputed call at the plate.

The loss ensured the first series defeat for the Cardinals on the season. They dropped to 11-7 and have now lost four of their last six games and their lead in the NL Central is down to two games over the Milwaukee Brewers.

The loss also overshadowed a much better performance from Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright. In what was easily his best start of the season, Wainwright held the Cubs to one run on six hits and a walk. He struck out seven batters in his 93-pitch effort. He was not in line for the win, as the Cards were down 1-0 after he departed.

During this recent downturn, the Cardinals offense as a whole has begun to sputter. They’ve scored only 16 runs in the last six games after scoring 70 in their first 12. Last night the issue was once again the inability to come through with runners in scoring position. They were 0-for-5 in that category and left 9 runners on base total.

Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija held the Cardinals in check through 6.2 innings. He struck out nine batters without allowing a run. He gave up four hits and two walks. The Cardinals struck in the eighth off relievers Rafael Dolis and Carlos Marmol. Dolis delivered a one-out walk to Rafael Furcal and then got Skip Schumaker to line out for the second out of the inning. Cubs manager Dale Sveum decided to let Marmol finish off the eighth against Matt Holliday. Holliday deposited Marmol’s sixth pitch of the at-bat over the left center field wall to give the Cards the lead, 2-1.

After a 1-2-3 eighth inning, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny left Marc Rzepczynski in to face left-handed hitting first baseman Bryan LaHair. LaHair cranked the first pitch he saw from Rzepczynski into the left field seats to tie the game at 2. He got the next two batters out, but then a Furcal error and a base hit put the winning run in scoring position for Monday night’s hero, Joe Mather. Matheny brought in Fernando Salas, who blew away Mather to end the threat.

The Redbirds could not score in the tenth as James Russell struck out two batters. Salas stayed in the game to pitch the bottom of the tenth and it got controversial quickly. Campana hit a one-out single. He took off for second base and the ball clearly beat him to the bag in replays, but he was ruled safe by second base umpire Bill Welke. Matheny came out to argue the call and after a few minutes of saying his piece, he was ejected. Salas struck out Starlin Castro and after an intentional walk to LaHair, Soriano hit a liner toward Greene at second base. It looked liked Greene got his feet stuck in the mud (but there wasn’t any mud) and couldn’t stay in front of the ball allowing it to scoot into the outfield allowing Campana to easily score the winning run.

NOTEWORTHY
  • The ejection was Matheny’s first in his career
  • Schumaker received his first start at second base this season as Tyler Greene and Daniel Descalso have done nothing to hold down the job.
TODAY’S GAME

Lance Lynn will try to avert the sweep this afternoon as he takes the mound against Chris Volstad.

 

MY TWO CENTS

For what it’s worth, the Cardinals are experiencing what will probably not be their only offensive struggles of the season. It happens. The game of baseball sees many peaks and valleys and in the end there always seems to be a balance. The best teams have more ups than downs and this Cardinals team will be among the better teams in the game.

The lineup when complete is going to be very potent. What happened in the first twelve games of the season was a pretty incredible beginning with hot starts from virtually every starter and players on the bench. At one point there were many players hitting over .350 in the starting lineup and they were hammering the opponent. Now only Jon Jay, Furcal and David Freese are among the regulars hitting above .300.

The Redbirds are without Lance Berkman and Jay, two important pieces of the lineup. They have received no production out of the second base combination of Greene and Descalso, to the point that Schumaker received the start there last night. Holliday who has four homers is still only hitting .215 on the season with a .262 OBP.

The team will rebound soon enough and they’ll put this downturn behind them. So long as the upswings are longer in duration and more plentiful than the downswings, the Cardinals will be competing for a playoff spot at the end of the season.

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Tags: Adam Wainwright Alfonso Soriano Bryan LaHair Cardinals Carlos Beltran Carlos Marmol Chicago Cubs Chris Volstad Daniel Descalso David Freese Featured Fernando Salas James Russell Jeff Samardzija Joe Mather Jon Jay Lance Berkman Lance Lynn Matt Holliday Mike Matheny Milwaukee Brewers Popular Rafael Dolis Rafael Furcal Skip Schumaker St Louis Cardinals Starlin Castro Tyler Greene Yadier Molina

  • http://yardsellr.com/yardsale/John-Weitzman-124454 johnwvideo

    Good 2 cents worth !     I just wonder how the cold weather is effecting them.. Yes both teams are still equal in the cold, It just seems strange that once they got to Pittsburgh where the weather started getting colder and on to Chicago there offence has dumped.. Yes there are peaks and valleys, and this is a valley, though in the warmer weather since spring they played so well..
    And of course it does not help they Berkman and JJ are out..
    What I am starting to see is 2nd is going to be a real soar spot. It seems to me that assuming Skip gets back to his normal offence he should have 2nd full time or at least most of the time. 
    Greene just does not impress me at all and DD is not having a very good year..
    I am really down on Greene to the point I hope they make a trade for a real 2nd basemen by July..
     
    OO I just cant wait for Craig to be back, its as if he is a savoir, Craig should be expected to pick up from last season and more then enough to replace Berkman.. Between Carpenter, Robinson and Greene we are loosing alot of offence. One can not expect these kids to pick up the slack all of the time..I would just like to see this line up the way its supposed to be  Healthy for a couple of months to pad there lead.. Thats all I ask !!

  • Marilyncolor

    The second base situation has to be solved at some point and Skip Schumaker is most definitely not the answer.  I guess I will have to stop harping on this or begin to sound like I am on some crusade to diss Skip (I actually like Skip personally).  But with a ground ball pitching staff like the Cardinals have, how can they survive playing the guy ranked by Fangraphs as the worst fielding second baseman in MLB last year:?  Yes, we need offensive production, but at what cost?  Shouldn’t we try to strike a balance? Personally, I think Descalso should be allowed to man the position for a while longer to see if his offense improves.  I don’t think the team can afford to concede a black hole of defense at 2B for a few extra hits.

  • http://www.redbirdrants.com/ Chris_Carelli

     @Marilyncolor I agree with you, Schumaker is not an everyday player in my opinion and a poor defender at 2B. If they are going to get a .220 hitter regardless they have to put the best fielder out there and that is Descalso almost by default. If he is given consistent at-bats maybe he raises his average to the .250 area and it is more palatable. As @johnwvideo says, they may be looking to fill the void in July if they have not settled on someone. I don’t expect to see Greene around much longer. He needs a change of scenary and I was high on him coming into the season. But, some guys never make the leap from AAA to the bigs with the same results. He is proving to be one of those players, at least in this organization. Maybe he has luck playing elsewhere.

  • http://yardsellr.com/yardsale/John-Weitzman-124454 johnwvideo

     @Marilyncolor this is where you and I differ, I dont care what Fangraphs  as to say. I still use my own eyes, old fashioned..  I still believe Skip is a better 2nd baseman then Greene, to me Greese us useless.. Though I do agree with you on DD. That might be a balance, he is for sure better then both of them at 2nd, if he can pick up his offence you will have your balance.. Whats a real shame is that Craig does not play 2nd, So you have to go whit what you have. mark my word they will make a move if 2nd does not improve on offence and deference by July, if I am wrong I will be the first to admit it..

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