St. Louis Cardinals: Jackie Robinson day brought brooms

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 15: Harrison Bader
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 15: Harrison Bader /

The St. Louis Cardinals completed their first sweep of the season on Sunday completing a four-game set against the bottom-dwelling Cincinnati Reds.

What a glorious (albeit cloudy and cold) Sunday in the confined confines of the Great American Ballpark! The St. Louis Cardinals, using a lineup absent some superstars, were able to manage their first sweep of the 2018 series brooming (I know it isn’t a word) the Reds away in the fourth victory of the series.

Behind a dominant Carlos Martinez, the St. Louis Cardinals stymied one of the remaining hopeful pitchers on the Reds’ squad in Homer Bailey. Bailey did not do too terrible of a job and, in fact, had great movement on some of his pitches (his curve looked pretty good) but the Cardinals were able to figure him out.

And figure him out they did early… at least Harrison Bader did by blasting his first home run in the majors for 2018. And a beauty it was too as a two-run home run in the second inning. Bader was playing in place of Marcell Ozuna in left field but batting in the seventh spot in the lineup.

Here’s how yesterday’s lineup looked:

Dexter Fowler, RF, 0-for-4

Tommy Pham, CF, 1-for-4

Matt Carpenter, 3B, 0-for-4

Jose Martinez, 1B, 1-for-4

Yadier Molina, C, 2-for-3

Greg Garcia, SS/3B, 0-for-2

Bader, LF, 1-for-2

Kolten Wong, 2B, 0-for-3

Pitcher (Martinez) then Yairo Munoz, PH/3B 0-for-1

If you look at the lineup above and the lack of productivity save for Molina and Bader, then you would wonder from where the runs came. On the day, the St. Louis Cardinals managed only five hits but scored three runs behind the Bader HR and behind two walks.

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One thing that continues to concern me about the 2018 St. Louis Cardinals is the hit-to-K ratio. In Sunday’s sweep, the Cardinals managed five hits (not enough) but struck out six times. 5-to-6. More Ks than Hs and that is not okay.

Luckily, the St. Louis Cardinals were playing the bottom-dwelling Cincinnati Reds thus they can suffer such a miserable hit count and frightening K count and not endure a loss. This will not always be the case, however, as will be tested this week against the Chicago Cubs (who themselves are reeling with a slow start).

On the pitching side of things, Martinez pitched seven complete innings of two-hit baseball. He recorded 11 strikeouts and surrendered only four walks. Having allowed zero runs, Martinez saw his ERA drop to a great 1.75 with a 2-1 record on the season.

The game got a little dicey when Tyler Lyons, who is usually very reliable, allowed one run on a home run to Billy Hamilton in the 8th inning. Bud Norris, who seems to be the current closer until Greg Holland gets his sea legs, also allowed a home run (to Adam Duvall) in the 9th. That said, with two outs, Norris was able to close the game and record the save.

This was Norris’ third save on the early season.

All in all, the St. Louis Cardinals were honestly disappointing on the offensive side and dominant on the pitching side (from Martinez at least). Should the Cardinals continue to disappoint offensively then some changes are certainly needed (read: Kolten Wong).

Next: Early changes needed

Today begins an important series against the Cubs. Should the sleepy offense remain stagnant then look for a few rough outings in the windy city.