When I wrote the series preview post over at the Substack, I noted that the Marlins as a whole weren’t great at striking out others while the Cardinals hitters were very good at making contact. That combination would seem to indicate good things for St. Louis and the early returns are bearing that out.
Jesus Lazardo struck out 12 Angels in his first start but he was only able to strike out three Cardinals last night and that meant the difference in results was striking. The one run he gave up against Anaheim became five last night, though one was unearned due to the defense behind him. So far, St. Louis has shown a real knack for not striking out. Dan McLaughlin noted last night that their strikeout rate was best in baseball and even in strictly bulk stats they are third from the bottom in MLB with 60 K, more than half of the total the league leader (San Diego) has put up, though granted the Padres have played in four more games.
As we all know, when you put the ball in play, good things will happen. Also, apparently some really surprising things. When Tommy Edman put the ball in play for a triple in the third, that was not necessarily expected but not unsurprising. Edman has good speed and the Marlins were second in baseball in triples going into this series so loanDepot Park or whatever it’s called might be conducive to the three baggers. However, when Albert Pujols is on first, you wouldn’t think that Edman’s speed would matter because Pujols wasn’t really going to go anywhere. Instead, showing how much being back in St. Louis has revitalized him, Pujols scored from first, marking the first time since 2019 he’d done that. Nobody was going to confuse Albert with Barry Allen, of course, but it provided not only another run but some smiles in the dugout.
I’m going to go with Tommy Edman as our Hero, because he drove in two runs with that triple and then later an RBI single, but if Adam Wainwright hadn’t stumbled at the end of his outing I might have gone his direction. Waino went 5.2 innings and allowed just a home run, but that homer came on his next-to-last batter, with the final batter getting a sharp single and forcing Oli Marmol to finish the inning with T.J. McFarland. Overall, though, it was another very solid outing from the legend.
It was also good to see Paul Goldschmidt start to come out of his slump, tallying two hits just like Pujols and Edman. Outside of those guys, you had RBI singles from Paul DeJong (who also drew a walk) and Tyler O’Neill (who was thrown out trying to make it a double). The offense wasn’t dominating, but it was enough.
It might have been more had Dylan Carlson also gotten off his slide, but he gets the Goat tag for another 0-5 night, complete with two strikeouts. Carlson feels like he’s needing something to click and I do wonder if we won’t have a game soon where Lars Nootbaar gets a start to give Carlson a mental break if nothing else. He’s one for his last 24 after starting the season with hits in his first four games.
It’d also be cool if Yadier Molina could complete the 2006 vibe that Pujols and Wainwright are giving off. Whether it’s the soreness, the lack of play, or something else, Molina’s 0-4 in this one dropped him to a .105 average on the young season. That’s just 2-19 in his case, but you’d still like to see that number a little larger.
Cards get to face a ghost of their trading past tonight in Sandy Alcantara. Hopefully they can have as much success as they did last night!