Hey, remember when Rich Hill had no command and the Cardinals jumped on his stuff early? Man, good times, so long ago. You know, last week.
That certainly wasn’t the case yesterday as Hill pitched his normal five innings, but this time allowed only one run on two hits and two walks. Whatever adjustments needed to be made, he made them. The same can not be said for the Cardinals.
While this wasn’t Mike Leake‘s best outing, it’s tough to really lay it all on him. He allowed a two-run homer to Chase Utley early, a solo blast (on a 3-0 count) to Cody Bellinger in the middle, then a fourth run (snapping his quality start streak) in the seventh. In that situation, Jose Martinez overshot the cutoff man trying to get the ball back in, meaning Utley could move to second instead of staying at first and keeping the double play in order. It’s possible that it wouldn’t have mattered given that Utley didn’t score (though the next batter got a sacrifice fly instead of Leake pitching for the double play), but the situation got Mike Shannon justifiably upset. Kinda the straw that broke the camel’s back type of thing, you know.
— smusial (@SimulacruMusial) May 29, 2017
It’s hard to feel like this club isn’t a second-division club a lot of days. Yes, the Cardinals are tied for second and are just 1.5 games out of first, but they are also literally a .500 team blessed to be in a struggling division. .500 would have them five games out in the AL East, 2.5 out in the AL Central, 10 out in the AL West, six in the NL East, and 6.5 in the NL West. They couldn’t be in a better division and that does give a little bit of a cushion to them in case they can turn things around. It’s probably going to be division or bust, though, as they are already 4.5 out of the last wild card spot. Memorial Day is usually when you can stop saying “it’s early” and realize that this is what you have. We’ll see if that inspires John Mozeliak at all, though given the roster movements of the last few days, it’s safe to say he knows the issues.
I hate to give Leake the Goat here, so I guess I’ll go with Jose Martinez not only for that throw, but also for going 0-3 and leaving three runners on base. It could have easily been Dexter Fowler or Yadier Molina, both who went 0-4. The club only mustered five hits, so it’s not like they had a lot of excitement going on here. I’m giving the Hero to Paul Dejong, who in his first major league start went two for four, had the team’s only extra-base hit, and might have scored had Chris Maloney not sent him home on an error by the shortstop who was backed up by the left fielder.
It is good to see Brett Cecil threw a scoreless frame, albeit after everything had gone down the tubes. A low pressure situation like that might help him get back on the right track. We’ll have to wait and see what he does next time out. He and Jonathan Broxton (who, to be fair, only faced one hitter) did their job. Kevin Siegrist, who allowed a home run and another hit and a walk in his two-thirds of an inning, did not. The trust level in Siegrist has dipped precipitously. Then again, who down there do you trust?
Does it feel to you that if the Cardinals get down by more than a couple of runs, the game is over? The last time the Cardinals rallied from any deficit and won the game was May 13 against the Cubs, and that was just a one-run deficit in the second. You’d have to go back to that last Miami game on May 10 to find a large gap, when the Marlins scored four in the first but the Cards came back to win 7-5. Since that game, they’ve only had two outings where the On the Run people have had to pay up. They are averaging 3.4 runs scored in that 15 game stretch. Unfortunately, they are averaging 4.1 runs allowed.
We talked about Randal Grichuk being sent down yesterday, but at the time I made the assumption that he was returning to Memphis. That’s not the case as the Cards dropped him all the way down to Palm Beach to let him be close to Jupiter and really get a lot of work in. It’s a different approach but probably a smart one, as we know he can hit in Memphis and you don’t have to worry about him taking up a spot in the outfield out there. Last year a demotion got him going, so we’ll see if it happens this year. However, he’s out of options now, I believe, so this won’t work in the future. He’s going to have to figure it out.
Still no real word on Stephen Piscotty, though the expectation is that he’ll be back in a day or two. It’s a strange situation, given that Major League Baseball does have a bereavement/family emergency “DL” that can be used for a three to seven day time period. Piscotty has been gone four already, so you would think if his situation fit under the guidelines (which it seemed to, given there was talk about a replacement for him), there’s really no reason why they should keep playing short. If nothing else, bring up Magneuris Sierra for a day or two. Playing shorthanded, while a Cardinal tradition, really isn’t the best way to go about your business.
The Cardinals haven’t been under .500 since losing to Milwaukee on May 4, so they’ll try to avoid that fate this evening as Michael Wacha again faced the Dodgers and the Redbirds get another look at Kenta Maeda. Wacha had a tough game against the Dodgers in LA, allowing six runs in four innings, and another outing like that would start to get you concerned a little bit (though you could chalk it up to the Dodgers having his number.) Maeda allowed just two runs in five and two-thirds, but maybe having just seen him, the bats will wake up against him. Never mind, I just realized what I was saying.
Come back this afternoon and check out the wrap-up to this past offseason’s series on the trades of John Mozeliak!