Struggles continued for the St. Louis Cardinals during a weekend set with the Atlanta Braves.
The best thing the St. Louis Cardinals could say about their four-game series with the Braves this weekend is that they were not swept. Atlanta took game one of the series 4-0 on Thursday. The Braves won 9-1 on Friday. Due to inclement weather, the teams did not play on Saturday and finally, the Cardinals won the first of Sunday’s doubleheader 9-1 then lost 1-0 on Sunday night.
Let’s discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all.
Going into the first of the doubleheader on Sunday, there was hope in the air that the Cardinals just needed a day off to reset. Things have been rotten lately for the team. Maybe that just needed a little break.
Adam Wainwright was impressive pitching a complete seven-inning game. He gave up three hits, one earned run, and three walks. He struck out 11 batters. It was excellent to see him pitch so well. That the Cardinals scored runs for Wainwright made it even better.
Nolan Arenado hit his 13th homer of the season in the first inning on a fly to left field, knocking in Tommy Edman.
In the fourth, Yadier Molina singled to center to score Tyler O’Neill. Paul Goldschmidt homered in the fifth to score Edman and Dylan Carlson. It was Goldschmidt’s tenth dinger of the season. In the sixth inning, Goldschmidt singled to score Wainwright. Arenado walked with the bases loaded to score Edman. O’Neill hit a sac fly to right field to score Carlson.
Also, Wade LeBlanc made his debut with the team. On Thursday, he pitched a third of an inning, giving up a hit. On Friday, he pitched three innings, giving up one hit and one walk. He struck out two. Nice to see his addition helping some.
Carlos Martinez seems to have lost his groove. He’s just not pitching consistently well anymore. It’s disappointing to see. On Friday, he threw three innings, giving up eight hits and eight earned runs, including two home runs to Ozzie Albies and William Contreras. He also hit Ronald Acuna Jr., twice. He walked four. He did strikeout three.
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Martinez looks incredibly frustrated on the mound. It’s frustrating to see. This is the last of his five-year $51M contract. There are team options for 2022 and 2023. It’s hard to imagine those getting picked up. That said, you wonder how much longer John Mozeliak, Cardinals president of baseball operations, will stand for this bad baseball. Mo has given Martinez a lot of chances so it will be interesting to see how this will be handled if he continues to struggle.
Jake Woodford didn’t help matters for Martinez Friday. He picked two innings, giving up two hits, two walks and an earned run. He struck out two.
On Thursday, John Gant pitched 5.1 innings giving up four hits, three earned runs, two walks, and a home run to Guillermo Heredia.
Contrary to popular belief, Gant, now 4-5 with a 3.50 ERA, may not be that great at starting pitching. He may get moved back to long relief at some point this season if this current trend continues.
In the final game of Sunday’s doubleheader, Kwang Hyun-Kim struggled. Now 1-5 on the season, Kim pitched four innings, giving up three hits including a home run to Acuna. Kim is just struggling to find some consistency.
Not scoring any runs on Thursday or Sunday evening and only one run on Friday has to be the most ugly, frustrating thing. When you see the team score nine Sunday afternoon, you know this team is capable of stringing hits together and scoring runs. The team desperately needs consistency in hitting and scoring.
Here’s hoping the team will see fit to make moves to help with hitting and scoring. The team continuing on the path of scoring no runs will not cut it the further we get into summer.
The Cardinals head to Detroit to play the Tigers on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Tigers are at the bottom of AL Central at 30-42. Here’s hoping the Cardinals can pull together some runs and wins.