St. Louis Cardinals: Bullpen falters again at PNC as Cards “walk the plank”

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PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 23: Dexter Fowler #25 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on from the dugout in the seventh inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 23, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 23: Dexter Fowler #25 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on from the dugout in the seventh inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 23, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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A game that featured a much anticipated start from St. Louis Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty, ended in yet another failed attempt at Pirate run prevention by the St. Louis Bullpen.

Disappointment for the second consecutive night by the pen, derailed a solid starting pitching performance by a St. Louis Cardinals Starter. This time, in the form of RHP Jack Flaherty.

Getting the call up from AAA, the Cardinals and Flaherty ultimately looked to bounce back, after the tough loss to the Pirates in extra innings Friday night.

As it was initially perceived, there was no better chance at redemption, than calling upon one of their most prized young players.

The pitching match up on Saturday night, featured the square-off of Jack Flaherty and Trevor Williams.

After a scoreless first inning was posted by both sides, it appeared as though both starters had the potential to remain dominant throughout.

In the second inning, Flaherty yielded a solo home run to the opposing backstop Francisco Cervelli.

A slider that failed to break, the “cement mixer” was thrust in the Pittsburgh night giving the Pirates an early 1-0 lead.

For the St. Louis Cardinals, the first run wouldn’t come until the third inning. With Paul DeJong at second base, Tommy Pham continued to stay hot, driving in DeJong with an extra base hit of his own. (1-1 after three innings.)

Pirates starter Trevor Williams pitched into the sixth inning, where he was eventually punished by an RBI single from Cardinals Left Fielder Marcell Ozuna. Driving in Jose Martinez, Marcell’s clutch hit had given St. Louis a 2-1 lead.

The trouble, strikes again late

The real trouble for the Cardinals, came after Jack Flaherty was forced to exit. After two walks to lead off the sixth inning, Mike Matheny called yet again on his bullpen. In an attempt to minimize the damage, Dominic Leone came in in relief.

After Leone failed to record an out in the sixth, another move was summoned. This time, calling on Luke Gregerson.

After eventually going to both Tyler Lyons and Mike Mayers, the Pirates pushed across two more runs in the sixth, officially closing the book on Flaherty.

After the sixth inning, the St. Louis Cardinals would fail to score any further, as Pittsburgh would go on to win by a final of 6-2.

Another night that featured a shaky performance by the St. Louis Bullpen, spit in the face of the games starter and for a consecutive night, left a bad taste in the mouths of Cardinal Nation.

While it is easy to sit back and spew the common remark of “there is always tomorrow”, let’s not neglect to remember who must be held accountable in these situations.

As for Saturday nights loss, it was a mixture of limited offense late in the game, and and a lack of effectiveness again from the bullpen.

The fingers are now pointed in their direction; can the bullpen find a way to turn it around? As the end of April draws near, that is precisely what remains in question.

Saturday’s WP: Williams, T (4-1); LP: Flaherty, J (0-1)

Next: Jedd Gyorko is greater than Matt Carpenter

The Cardinals (now 15-11), will look to avoid the sweep as they face the Pirates in game 3 at PNC Park on Sunday. Game time is set for 12:35 P.M CT, as Weaver will face off against Pittsburgh Rookie, Kingham.

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