Effective pitching and timely hitting have often haunted the Cardinals. The pesky issues reemerged in the club's series against the Braves.
The Cardinals were swept by the Braves, losing Monday 8-4, losing again on Tuesday 4-1, and on Wednesday 5-2.
On Monday, Jake Woodford gave up home runs to Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies, and Ronald Acuna Jr in the first two innings of work. Nolan Arenado ground into a force out in the Cardinals half of the first inning to tie the score at one before Woodford gave up the homers to Albies and Acuna.
Down 6-1 at the end of the second inning, the Cardinals would have to pull together some runs. Jordan Walker singled in the fourth inning to score Nolan Gorman. Brendan Donovan hit a ground out, allowing Tyler O'Neill to score, bringing the overall score to 6-3 Braves.
With Jordan Hicks on in the seventh, Matt Olson singled to score Acuna. Travis d'Arnaud doubled to score Olson, bringing the score to 8-3.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Paul Goldschmidt hit his first home run of the season on a fly to left-center field, bringing the score to 8-4. Goldschmidt's blast traveld 398 feet at 105.8 mph.
On Tuesday, the Braves were again home-run happy. Austin Riley hit another home run on a fly to left-center field, driving in Acuna. In the second inning, Orlando Arcia hit a home run on a fly to left field. In the third inning, Sean Murphy singled on a grounder to left field, allowing Travis d'Arnaud to score.
Steven Matz pitched 5.1 innings giving up ten hits, four earned runs, a walk, and two home runs. He did strike out seven batters. Matz is a bottom-of-the-rotation pitcher and does his part. It would have been great to have a better outing, but he was able to get through five innings and save the bullpen. Drew VerHagen pitched 1.2 innings, giving up a hit and striking out two batters. Here's hoping VerHagen can become a reliable long-relief option this season.
Andre Pallante pitched an inning, striking out a batter. It's nice to see him continue on the path of pitching in any situation asked of him. Giovanny Gallegos pitched the ninth inning, giving up a hit while striking out one. Typically shutdown stuff from Gallegos.
In the fourth inning, the Cardinals finally got on the board thanks to a single off the bat to Willson Contreras allowing Dylan Carlson to score. Contreras was thrown out at the second base, unsuccessfully testing the arm of Acuna.
On Wednesday, Miles Mikolas was greeted with more of the same frustrations in the first inning. He gave up a double to Matt Olson, allowing Ronald Acuna Jr. to score. Austin Riley singled, to score Olson. Albies knocked a sacrifice fly to score Riley.
In the second inning, Olson hit a home run to center field. In the fourth inning, Olson hit a double to right field, scoring Acuna.
We'll discuss how the Cardinals got their runs below.
It was quite a series for the Braves but incredibly frustrating for the Cardinals as they found many of their issues from seasons past come back to haunt them.