St. Louis Cardinals swept in ugly fashion by Atlanta Braves

Alex Reyes #29 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after walking three consecutive batters against the Atlanta Braves in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on August 5, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Alex Reyes #29 of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts after walking three consecutive batters against the Atlanta Braves in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on August 5, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

The St Louis Cardinals threw away chances to gain ground in the NL Central or Wild Card races after getting swept by the Atlanta Braves.

There really is no way to sugarcoat it. The St. Louis Cardinals got swept in the ugliest possible way by the Atlanta Braves this week. The Cardinals lost on Tuesday 6-1, Wednesday 7-4 and Thursday 8-4.

This is supposed to be about the good, bad and ugly of this series. But honestly, it was mostly ugly. Let’s discuss.


Thank goodness for Tyler O’Neill.  He was the only run on Tuesday for the Cardinals. Molina hit a single to right, allowing O’Neill to score. O’Neill showed off his glove on Tuesday too. Check this out.

Things looked good early Wednesday for the Cardinals. With Dylan Carlson and Paul Goldschmidt on base, Nolan Arenado blasted his 21st homer of the season which traveled 400 feet at an exit velocity of 104.2 mph.

Nolan has a beautiful swing here:

The Cardinals were able to get a run to tie things up at four in the seventh. Paul Goldschmidt hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Matt Carpenter, who had stolen third place moments beforehand to get himself in prime scoring position.

J.A. Happ had a decent first start for his new team on Wednesday, as well. He pitched five innings, giving up five hits including a home run to Jorge Soler. He did walk one but struck out four, inducing 10 swing and misses. It was good to see Happ go five innings and keep his new team in the game. The bullpen, however, blew up. This will be discussed in the ugly section.

On Thursday, Andrew Knizner hit his first home run of the season, a 396foot blast to left field at 100.2 mph, off Braves pitcher Touki Toussaint. Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat reported Knizner’s grandfather passed away this past week, with Knizner saying after the game that his grandfather was with him on his swing.

Later in the inning, Arenado singled to left field allowing Carlson to score. Arenado was out at second on a throw from Adam Duvall. In the sixth inning, O’Neill scored on a passed balled by Kevan Smith. And, in the seventh Goldschmidt hit a single to score Tommy Edman.

Wade LeBlanc had another good outing for the Cardinals. He pitched six innings, giving up three hits, three walks and one home run to Joe Pederson. He was able to strike out one and induce eight swings and misses. Genesis Cabrera held the game for LeBlanc throwing an excellent seventh inning where he struck out one.

The good outings by these two was spoiled at the hands of rest of the bullpen, which will be discussed in the ugly section.


The Cardinals scored once Tuesday. The team was two for eight with runners in scoring position and had six left on base. The team didn’t help themselves again on Wednesday. They were one for six with runners in scoring position and left seven on base. And on Thursday, the team was two for ten with runners in scoring position and left six on base.

On Thursday, the worst culprit of this trend was Paul DeJong. He was zero for four on the night, striking out twice and leaving four on base. DeJong has a line of .198/.288/.383 with a wRC+ of 86. His primary replacement, Edmundo Sosa, isn’t doing much better at a line of .250/.326/.339 and a wRC+ of 86, as well. DeJong has 14 homers to Sosa’s three.

It will be interesting to see if the Cardinals attempt to see if any free agent hitters are available. The team desperately needed to get another bat at the trade deadline. We’ll probably never know who the Cardinals woulda shoulda coulda gotten at the deadline, because they didn’t. They will not be able to achieve their goal of making some noise and getting to the wild card unless by some miracle the team starts consistently hitting or they find a bat.


In his first start with the Cardinals, Jon Lester was less than stellar. He pitched 5 innings, giving up nine hits and six runs, including two home runs to Jorge Soler and Freddie Freeman. He walked two and struck out four.

The trade for Lester was certainly an interesting one. The innings eating was a selling point. But when his first inning features him giving up five runs, that’s not how you want your inning ate if you’re a Cardinal fan.

While things went smooth in the third, fourth and fifth innings, it was still a frustrating outing when you’re a Cardinals fan looking for a good start from the newest acquisition. Hopefully this was a one off and he’s gotten the bad out of his system.

T.J. McFarland pitched two innings, giving up one hit and striking out one. Luis Garcia pitched an uneventful inning. Justin Miller pitched a clean ninth inning, walking one.

Wednesday’s game proved the Cardinals should have attempted to get a reliable, strike thrower for the bullpen. Ryan Helsley blew the save for Happ. He pitched two thirds of an inning, giving up two hits and two earned runs including a home run to Adam Duvall. McFarland finished off the sixth inning. Cabrera pitched a solid seventh inning, striking out one.

Giovanny Gallegos had a terrible eighth inning where he looked frustrated and uncomfortable on the mound. He only went two thirds of an inning, giving up three hits and three runs. He walked one and struck one. The outfield didn’t help Gallegos either when Joc Pederson doubled with a sharp liner in the area of Bader and Carlson. The ball was deflected in between the fielders allowing Dansby Swanson and Guillermo Heredia to score. Pederson was able to reach third on the fielding error.

The outfield defense, led by Bader, is normally amazing. This play was awful and ultimately cost them the game.

In Thursday’s game, the Cardinals got another dose of a terrible outing from Gallegos. He made it two thirds of an inning, giving up three runs including a homer to Austin Riley, scoring Freeman. Next up was Alex Reyes who gave up a whopping four walks, allowing three earned runs.

That’s just terrible. You could argue these two are being used too much and probably be right.

While the damage had already been done, Justin Miller and Andrew Miller combined to close out the game for the Cardinals.

In Conclusion

This was a terrible series for the Cardinals. They are now 53-55 and two games under .500. They are now 11.5 back of the Milwaukee Brewers and 4.5 back of the Cincinnati Reds. They are eight back of the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres in the Wild Card.

It’s hard to fathom this being do-able for this club after such a gut punch of a series.

The Cardinals take on their cross state rival, Kansas City Royals. Hopefully the Cardinals kick things up a notch. I doubt they want to lose to the Mike Matheny-led team that sits in fourth place in the AL Central with a 47-60 record.

It would be bad to lose even a game in this series.

Let’s hope the Cardinals remember that little tidbit.

May the Cardinals have a good weekend series and sweep the Royals.