The St. Louis Cardinals had a 2-0 leading entering the bottom of the 9th, but terrible managing leads to an epic collapse against the Phillies.
St. Louis Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol has been the exact leader that St. Louis needed this season, perhaps even NL Manager of the Year, but his late game managing in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series against the Philadelphia Phillies cost the Cardinals a critical game.
With one out in the bottom of the 8th and a runner on first, Marmol made his first mistake, placing closer Ryan Helsley in the game to make the final 5 outs for St. Louis. Helsley suffered a hand injury in the final game of the regular season, and although he looked good in the 8th inning, expecting him to go the rest of the way was the first of Marmol’s mistakes.
Helsley allowed a single, two walks, and then a hit by pitch to make the game 2-1 Cardinals, and then Marmol made his second mistake of the game, putting rookie Andre Pallante into the biggest moment of the Cardinals season. Pallante has been huge for St. Louis to this point, but expecting the rookie right hander to get out of a bases loaded jam was too much. Jack Flaherty was warming up and ready to go, and should have been relied on.
Even then, Pallante made the pitch he needed to get a game ending double play, but Marmol had his infield in, and Tommy Edman was unable to come up with the ball. 3-2 Phillies.
Pallante remained in the game, and the lead extended all the way to 6-2.
Losing a game like this is brutal. St. Louis had all of the momentum after the Juan Yepez 2-run blast. Now St. Louis must win Saturday and Sunday to advance to the National League Division series. The Cardinals are going to need more of their historical magic to pull this series out, or risk ending the legendary careers of Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina in such a heartbreaking way.
Marmol will be questioned for these decisions, and rightfully so. It comes with the position. This does not make Marmol a bad manager, but it does leave a bad taste in the mouths of Cardinal Nation.