Cubs Dismantle Cards Pitching Staff, Complete 3-Game Sweep


Things just continue to get uglier by the day in St. Louis, as the Cardinal’s 2010 campaign is becoming somewhat of an embarrassment at this point. It seems like such a long time ago that the Redbirds soared into first place in the N.L. Central after an impressive sweep of the Reds. However, it has been just over a month since that happened as the Cardinals have plummeted out of the playoff picture entirely and can’t seem to get back on the right track.

After last night’s 7-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs, the Cards have lost seven of their last nine games, killing what little hope remained for the team to make one last surge in the division. With the sweep, St. Louis is now just four games over .500 and closer to the third place Astros than the first place Reds. It was the first time Chicago has swept the Cards in St. Louis in a three-game series since 1988, and the first time since 1983 that they won five consecutive games visiting the Cards. The Cubs are now 8-4 in the season series between the two teams.

Although it may seem like a typical bad series in the midst of a major slump for the Cardinals, this past series against the Cubs was anything but. It was the first time this season that the top of the rotation starters were credited with three straight losses on consecutive days. How do Jamie Garcia, Adam Wainwright, and Chris Carpenter all lose in blowout fashion to a struggling team that is ten games behind them in the standings? There is no reasonable or acceptable explanation for something like that. Pitching, for the most part, has been the one consistent aspect of the Cards organization this year, but you wouldn’t be able to tell it from watching those three outings.

The Cardinals allowed 19 runs, while scoring just 6 over the course of the awful series. Not to mention, they were a whopping 2-23 hitting with runners in scoring position, making it nearly impossible to establish any sort of rhythm offensively.

For Carlos Zambrano, last night’s victory marked a 6-0 record in seven outings at the new Busch Stadium. Matt Holliday and Colby Rasmus struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and Chris Carpenter allowed his 20th homer of the season, leaving the St. Louis crowd with many reasons to boo as the Redbirds head into a four game series with the San Diego Padres.

It seems apparent to me that the Cardinals have lost all interest in playing the rest of this season, which is unfair to both the fans and the organization. If this is the case, the remaining 17 games on the schedule will be long and grueling. I just don’t see the passion on a day to day basis that I should expect to see from guys who love the game of baseball. Losing a division race to a truly better team is one thing, but there is absolutely no excuse for throwing in the towel with three weeks to go.

Unfortunately, as the Cardinal’s chances of making the playoffs have been wiped out, so too have Albert Pujols’ chances of winning the Triple Crown in all likelihood. With possible changes looming in the off season, it is reassuring to know that Albert Pujols will compete until the end as long as he’s in St. Louis.

Redbird fans have no choice but to look ahead to next year, and can only imagine what might have been had the Cardinals played to their full potential.