St. Louis Cardinals: Discouraging Finish to the Pittsburgh Series

landonclapp
Apr 3, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (4) is greeted by first baseman Matt Holliday (7) after Molina scored a run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 3, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (4) is greeted by first baseman Matt Holliday (7) after Molina scored a run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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The St. Louis Cardinals pitching staff surrendered 10 runs over the final five frames of a 10-5 series finale loss to the Pirates.

Just as the St. Louis Cardinals looked like they had a chance to close out a vintage 1-0, 2-1 type win against Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon, things fell apart in a big way.

Trailing 1-0 after four, the Pirates unloaded with a barrage of hits (12 to be exact) over the final five frames, netting 10 runs in the process.

The big blows were delivered by John Jaso and Gregory Polanco.

After a Chris Stewart RBI double in the top of the fifth tied the score at 1-1, Jaso jumped on a 3-2, 2-out change up that was up in the zone from Michael Wacha, pushing the Buccos in front 3-1.

The Cardinals and Pirates exchanged runs in the sixth inning before a Polanco three-run homer blew the game open in the seventh.

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The Cardinals would fight back for three in the bottom half of the inning, but couldn’t ever get over the hump.

The loss for St. Louis drops them to 1-5 on the year against Pittsburgh, and just 5-11 against teams with winning records at the time they played.

Most troubling, the Cardinals have looked outclassed against Pittsburgh pretty much across the board in their first six match ups.

Chicago refuses to lose. And, yet again, the Cardinals seemed to take a step back right when they looked poised to move in the opposite direction.

It’s just been an absolute up-and-down season for the Cardinals, seemingly with little-to-no consistency from game to game, inning to inning, batter to batter, or even really pitch to pitch.

At 16-16 overall, the Cards trail Pittsburgh by 2.5 games in the Central and now trail The Cubs by 9.0 games after their four-game sweep of the Nationals in Chicago.

Now, we still aren’t even 1/5 of the way through the season. A year ago today, the Cards sat 6.5 and 9.0 games ahead of Chicago and Pittsburgh, respectively.

It’s still far from panic time, but man was it discouraging to watch the later innings of that game unfold earlier this afternoon. More so considering what the Cardinal bullpen HAD done prior to Sunday.

There’s still more than enough time to make up some ground in the division race.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Chicago won’t win 80% of it’s games from here on out, as they’ve done through the seasons first 30 games.

Next: Anticipation Building for Alex Reyes' Return

But, it’s time to get things in gear here. The Cardinals can’t afford to play .500 baseball anymore. Not if they have serious World Series, or even serious playoff aspirations, at this point.

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