The St. Louis Cardinals are serious. Losing to the Detroit Tigers in overtime today, they fell into an 8-game losing streak. It was a come-from-behind loss that failed to keep the early 3-0 lead.
St. Louis’ eight-game losing streak is the first in 16 years since the nine-game losing streak in September 2007. 2007 was the season in which St. Louis’ last .500 win rate was frustrated. With today’s loss, St. Louis’ season win rate also fell to 20% (10 wins, 24 losses, 0.294). Only two times in St. Louis’ first 34 games of a season have a lower win rate than this, a whopping 116 years ago (1903 & 1907 9-25 0.265).
There is one 메이저놀이터more dark history in St. Louis. By dropping Game 1 of the series against Detroit yesterday, they have lost all 11 Game 1s of the series this season. The 11-game losing streak in Game 1 right after the season opener is the worst since Kansas City’s 13-game losing streak in 1981.
Because they always start by losing the first game, the series history can’t be good either. In the 11 series so far, St. Louis overcame the loss in Game 1 and won only three consecutive games against the Toronto Blue Jays and three consecutive games away from the Colorado Rockies. Also, due to the loss in Game 1 of the series, they have not been able to win 3 games in a row so far.
Last year, St. Louis won its 12th National League Central Division title with a record of 93 wins and 69 losses. After overcoming consecutive postseason failures from 2016-2018, the postseason continued for four consecutive years from 2019. In particular, it was a more memorable season as the last dance of Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright was successfully completed.
This year, St. Louis’ prospects for advancing to the postseason were optimistic. Pujols and Molina retired, but they hired Wilson Contreras to take over as catcher (five years, $87.5 million). St. Louis expected Contreras, who had better offense than Molina, to increase the team’s strength. Locals also evaluated the St. Louis mound as being more solid than it looks.
Bright prospects for St. Louis soon faded. The opening three matches ended with 2 wins and 1 loss, but the 50% win rate collapsed as they suffered 4 losses in a row. The risky tightrope walking did not stop. It was common to retreat after approaching the 50% win rate. As the aforementioned loss in the first game of the series became a daily routine, there was no breakout section. In the end, St. Louis dropped to the bottom of the division by losing a game against the San Francisco Giants on April 27th.
It is starting baseball that determines winning and losing streaks. If the starting lineup is strong, even if the other lineup is weak, they can avoid losing streaks and shorten the losing streak period. But this year, St. Louis is not starting baseball. The starting pitcher’s ERA is 5.44, the third highest in the National League. There is no ace in sight to save the team from a crisis.
In fact, the St. Louis starting lineup had signs last year. The two pitchers who filled the required innings were Miles Mycholas in his mid-30s (12-13 3.29) and Wainwright in his 40s (11-12 3.71). There was no generational change as young pitchers stepped up with a one-two punch. Nevertheless, last winter St. Louis neglected to reinforce the mound. They did not bring in any pitchers from the outside, but rather renewed the contract of Mycholas, which was the last season of a four-year contract this year, for three years and $55.75 million. Mycholas increased his annual salary from $15.75 million this year to $18.75 million, and was guaranteed an annual salary of $16 million until 2025 (a contract payment of $5 million).
The believer corner of St. Louis was Jack Flaherty. When Flaherty, who has suffered from injuries for the past three years, is healthy, he believes that he will reproduce the performance of the fourth-place pitcher (11-8, ERA 2.75) in 2019. However, he was stabbed in the foot by the ax he believed. Flaherty, whose four-seam command became unstable, gave up 13 walks in 10 innings in the first two games, and collapsed with 9 hits and 10 runs in 2.1 innings against the Los Angeles Angels on the 5th (2 wins, 4 losses, 6.29 ERA). At this rate, it is questionable whether he will be able to remain in the starting lineup.
Michaelas, who upgraded his contract, is also not satisfied (ERA 5.79 1 win 1 loss). Stephen Matz, who transferred last year, is also at a loss (4 losses, 6.39 ERA). Wainwright also only allowed 4 runs (8 hits) in 5 innings in his return match today. As the entire starting lineup was shaken, the team’s losing streak was prolonged. When the starting lineup collapses, the operation of the bullpen naturally suffers.
Manager Oliver Marmall cannot be free from responsibility when the team is so broken. Mamol was selected as a surprise after coach Mike Silt resigned after the 2021 season. Born in 1986, he is the youngest active coach and five years younger than the second-youngest Minnesota Twins coach, Rocco Boldelli. As a result, how to treat the three elders last year was a hot topic.
If last season was a rehearsal, this season was the main stage to see Mamol’s true ability. However, he is not showing any presence as a director. Even during the losing streak, there was no sign of improving the team atmosphere. Rather, he drove the team into a corner with poor choices.
Pitcher replacement is a result theory. However, it can be questioned whether the process was reasonable. This season, Mamol found it difficult to understand most of the timing of the pitcher change. He could not count the number of games he missed by not dropping the pitcher he should have put down. In fact, St. Louis has the most runners (70) along with the Oakland Athletics in the number of runners left on Rusang when a pitcher comes down.
The unconventional bullpen operation did not work either. That was the case against the Angels on the 4th. Mamol posted closer Ryan Helsley after two outs in the seventh. After Hellsley blocked the top of the 8th, Giovanni Gallegos was put up in the top of the 9th. Gallegos immediately blew the lead by one point as he hit a home run off first batter Jake Lamb. And with a home run from Mike Trout and a timely hit from Anthony Rendon, he lost with 3 runs in 1 inning. During April, Gallegos was arguably the best pitcher in the St. Louis bullpen, but the level of criticism is bound to escalate if the bullpen changes he made don’t work.
Even in the local area, the gaze toward Mamol is not good. The appointment of Nolan Gorman, who had a good sense of hitting at the beginning of the season, as a platoon was also dominated by negative reactions. He has hardly ever worked with a strategy to send a pinch hitter in the game. For reference, the St. Louis pinch hitter batting average is the lowest in the National League.
National League team pinch hit batting average bottom
0.167 – Dodgers
0.167 – San Diego
0.150 – Philadelphia
0.136 – St. Louis
Poor starting lineup, lethargic batting line, and poor leadership of the coach added to St. Louis are already booing at their home stadium, Bush Stadium. However, the director responded at a press conference, saying, “I don’t think they are more frustrated than we are.” It was a word that poured fuel on the burning public sentiment.
Will St. Louis be able to show off its potential that matches its team DNA? For that to happen, a major turning point has to come. However, Molina, who provided this turning point, is no longer on the team. Of course, the fall in St. Louis will not come if we continue to miss Molina who left.