Dud - Adam Wainwright
Adam Wainwright began his career with the Cardinals as an arm out of the bullpen. That season, he closed out some essential games, including the NLCS against the Mets in 2006 and, ultimately, the World Series that season against the Tigers.
He went on to have a fantastic career as a starter for the Cardinals. That career is suffering a jolt this season as he tries to finish things on a high note. Wainwright is now 3-3 on the season with a 7.45 ERA. He pitched 1.2 innings Thursday, giving up six earned runs and three walks. He did strike out one batter.
It's heartbreaking to see Wainwright struggle. It's hard to imagine how he must feel, knowing he wants to help the Cardinals win. Wainwright has some decisions to make in the coming days. Could he go to the bullpen? Could he go on the injured list and work on building back up? He can not be ready to retire. He does not want to go out like this, that is certain.
Dud - Oli Marmol
Cardinals manager Oli Marmol has always been keen to play up matchups to leverage the best situation for the team. The Cardinals' second-year manager has not played those matchups well when it matters the most.
Marmol has made a lot of questionable decisions this season. He's publicly criticized players for a perceived lack of hustle. Tyler O'Neill is on the injured list with lingering back issues after using this offseason to work on keeping healthy for the long haul this season.
He criticized and even publicly demoted the organization's new catcher because he was not preparing the pitching staff by the Cardinal Way. In other words, Willson Contreras is not Yadier Molina. Thankfully, this issue quickly resolved itself when Contreras communicated with the pitching staff to better work with them and determine their needs, something that could have happened in Spring Training.
In this series, he had a different outfield each night. He has moved Gold Glove second baseman turned shortstop to center field. Thankfully, this has been going well. Dylan Carlson had been the Cardinals' center fielder, but Marmol kept Edman in center and moved Carlson to right field. Lars Nootbaar took a shot at centerfield for the first time after returning from the injured list due to a back issue that happened after crashing into the centerfield wall. Nootbaar lacked some confidence to go after batted balls, even letting them bounce in front of him before catching the hit. Jordan Walker is on his second multi-game hit streak of his rookie season. This is his first entire season as an outfielder, and it shows. Walker's bat needs to be in the lineup, though.
And then his decision-making on pitching. It's unclear if he's taking most of his consideration from the analytics department or pitching coach Dusty Blake. Either way, it's not been great. Bringing in pitchers like Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley on a second day in a row hasn't proved successful this season, yet Marmol keeps putting them in these situations. Sometimes it is probably a good idea to keep a pitcher, like Chris Stratton, in the game when they pitch clean innings of work.
Marmol would say these observations view things from a mindset of hindsight being 20-20. When something like communication with players, not keeping in mind specific trends pitchers have on their second consecutive day of work, or trusting certain players over others too much becomes glaring issues, it's time for Marmol to step back and reassess what he's doing because it's not helping the Cardinals at all.