The St. Louis Cardinals’ Jack Flaherty beat the best pitcher in Major League Baseball on Monday, Max Scherzer. However, not coming through with the bases loaded and late inning bullpen trouble, the Cardinals dropped the game to the Washington Nationals.
This can be blamed on a couple of things: A) the St. Louis Cardinals had the bases loaded in the top of the 8th and scored no runs, ozr B) Bud Norris came into the game with a 3-1 lead in the 9th and gave up a 2-run smash to Bryce Harper to tie the game.
Not scoring a single run with the bases loaded and no outs is ugly. It’s ugly baseball. Especially when it happened twice over the Labor Day weekend.
Blowing saves in a pennant race – that’s fatal.
For starters, when someone pitches better than Max Scherzer, no matter who it is – you win that game for him.
As frustrating as it was to watch Jose Martinez come up late in the game and not deliver (again), leading by two runs in the 9th and losing the game cannot happen in September.
Not only did Norris blow a 2-run lead Monday, he came in a 3-3 ballgame against the Cincinnati Reds Sunday and gave up a blast to Eugenio Suarez. Hey, at least he keeps getting beat by the best player on the team, right? Right?
At what point do we raise the question of making a change? Repetitive errors in a postseason race kill a team. There’s no time or room for blown saves, at this point.
Bud Norris has been very good for the St. Louis Cardinals all season long at the back end of the bullpen. He’s had an exceptional season and pitched well above his pay grade. If this is Kenley Jansen, you let him work it out. This isn’t Kenley Jansen.
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The theme for the St. Louis Cardinals second half turnaround has been young pitching. Why not stick with that theme and give Jordan Hicks a chance to close out games? Maybe Dakota Hudson? Or maybe even…Adam Wainwright? I think we all remember 2006.
Sure, Hicks can be wild at times and Hudson hasn’t been around all that long. Although, at this point why not go with what has been working? Young pitching. Let these guys play and figure it out. It sure has worked out over the last month.
Hopefully, Norris just needs a couple days of mental rest. Then, get him back out there. He’s been as consistent of an arm in the bullpen as we have had all year. If it happens again, we know where we stand.
Don’t freak out just yet, Cardinals Nation. I still believe the St. Louis Cardinals will get a wildcard spot. A minor set back coming off an unbelievable month of success. Success that is just not sustainable.
The Redbirds have 24 games left. If they play .500 baseball from here on out, they will end the season with 88 wins. Let’s say the benchmark to get into the postseason is 90 wins. Therefore, the St. Louis Cardinals will need a record of 14-12 in the remaining games.
This is a very attainable goal. Unfortunately, it seems just as an attainable goal for the Brewers, Rockies, Dodgers, and D-Backs. Meaningful baseball in September is fun, isn’t it?