Bernie’s Redbird Review: In A Game Of Missed Opportunities, The Cardinals Fall To The First-Place Brewers.

THE REDBIRD REVIEW:

The Cardinals and Brewers opened a four-game engagement at Busch Stadium on Thursday night, with the visitors carrying a 4-3 win back to their hotel. And with the win, Milwaukee opened up a 4 1/2 game lead over St. Louis in the NL Central standings. And the Brewers made the Cardinals go round in circles, we’ve gotten used to that here in St. Louis.

Milwaukee is 29-16, second in the NL with a .644 win ratio.

St. Louis is 24-20, sixth in the NL with a .545 win ratio.

Let’s check…

Bad trend: The Cardinals continue to lose ground to the Brewers. At the end of the day on April 23, the Cards were tied 9-4, leading the Crew by a game. But as of April 24, Milwaukee has the best record in the NL at 20-10, and the Cardinals are 15-16 for a .484 win ratio that ranks eighth in the NL for that time.

Battles against good teams continue: Thursday’s frustrating setback left the cards with an 11-14 record this season against record-winning opponents.

Do you need DIY work: The Cardinals need to find more success at Busch Stadium. Her 11-10 (.524) record at home ranks 14th in MLB and only seventh in the NL. The Cards have lost seven of their last eleven games at Busch.

Wobbly rotation: In their last seven games, the St. Louis pitchers have a 5.40 ERA with an 11.4 percent walk in 35 innings. And they allowed an average of 0.275, a base percentage of 0.370 and a slugging percentage of 0.449. Cards that start pitchers have a 4.27 ERA in May after establishing a 3.45 ERA in April.

By the time spring training began, St. Louis had a planned five-man rotation of Adam Wainwright, Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, Steven Matz and Dakota Hudson. In addition, the plan was to prepare Jordan Hicks for a role as the de facto sixth starter. But Flaherty, Matz and Hicks are on the injured list, leaving just three members of the original rotation in place. Right now, the Cardinals have an open slot with rookie Matthew Liberatore. As for the other vacancy. Well it could be Jake Woodford or some later named alternative. This is what the term “flow state” means.

May 26, 2022; St Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) and catcher Yadier Molina (4) come in from the bullpen before a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

About Adam Wainwright: Wainwright lasted just five innings against the Brewers and was stabbed for 10 hits, a walk and three earned carries. The Brewers deftly laid down Wainwright’s curveball, forcing him to throw more pitches. The plan worked; Waino needed 100 pitches to make 15 outs. Wainwright allowed two earned runs in the first, one unearned run in the second, and one earned run in the fourth.

Follow Waino’s trends: A few things to look out for:

Not missing that many at-bats: He has a 5.9 percent swinging strike rate this season. Its swinging strike rate was 8.1% in 2021 and 10.5% in 2020.

Total contact rate: 86.4 percent against him so far. If there is no drop, that would be the highest contact rate against Waino in his 16 seasons as a starting pitcher. As recently as 2020, the overall contact rate was 10 percentage points lower than Wainwright at 76.2%. In 2021, this rate was 81.3 percent.

Contact in the striking zone: When opponents swing in the striking zone on a Wainwright field this season, they have a 95.5 percent contact rate. Up until this season, he has never allowed an in-zone contact rate higher than 90.8%.

Uncle Charlie: Waino had a 26.8 percent breath rate on his classic curve ball in 2021. So far this year he has a 20.4% breath rate on the curve.

Missed Opportunity, Part I: Milwaukee’s Eric Lauer wasn’t sharp at the start early Thursday. That was unusual because he’s one of the best starters in the majors. The Redbirds are banging on lefties again this season, leading MLB against them with a .480 slug and .843 OPS. But the lads didn’t come close to taking full advantage of Lauer’s inefficiency in the game and he settled in after his early turbulence.

In the first two innings, the Cardinals reached base with seven of their 13 plate appearances (four hits, three walks) but only managed two runs. This was a significant missed opportunity. In his last three innings, Lauer faced just one batter over the minimum, walked with a batter and gave no hits. As of June 27 of last season, Lauer has the second-best ERA (2.24) among MLB starting pitchers to pitch at least 100 innings during that streak.

Missed Opportunity II: The Cardinals didn’t do much against four Milwaukee reliefs, scoring one run in four innings on a solo homer by Paul Goldschmidt against Trevor Gott in the 7th. The Cardinals had a great chance to tie the game in the 9th. But with two runners and an out against Milwaukee Superman, who was closer to Josh Hader, he erased the threat by catching Albert Pujols with a foulout and Juan Yepez with a pop-up.

Sour Notes: Over nine innings cards were 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position. After hitting two runs in the first, they hit just one run in the last eight innings…from Goldschmidt’s single in the second inning to his HR in the seventh, the Cardinals went 0 for 14 with three walks…the Cardinals popped a a few times in this game, and that’s one of the worst aspects of this offense. The infield card pop-up rate (14.8%) is the highest (like worst) in the majors…the St. Louis pitching team has a 4.58 ERA in their last 13 games…The Cards are at 8-10 since May 7th.

Josh Hader is unfair: After missing three games due to a family medical emergency, Hader returned to the Brewers somewhat rusty in his ninth-inning finish. It took him 23 pitches to make his 16th save of the season. Looking back over the last season, Hader has had a 37-goal streak (in 35 innings) and has secured his last 30 saves.

Hader has not conceded an earned run since July 28, 2001. During that time, he’s dealt with 132 batters who had just 10 hits, two doubles, no home runs, 16 walks, one hit by pitch, a .087 batting average and a 44.7 percent strikeout rate. And in 27 plate appearances with runners in goal position, opponents have scored .042 against Hader since July 28.

Since the start of the 2021 season, the Cardinals have hit a sickly .087 against Hader (2 for 23) with three walks, a hit batter and 11 strikeouts.

Goldschmidt goes wild: He’s now at base in 31 straight games, and that includes his current hitting streak of 17 games. On Thursday he went 2 for 4 against the Brewers with a homer and a walk. During the 31-game streak that began April 22, Goldy hit pitcher for a .415 batting average, .467 onbase percentage, .724 slugging percentage and 1.191 OPS. This feast includes eight homers, 14 doubles, 33 RBI, 13 walks, 20 runs, five gold rings, four calling birds, three French chickens, two lovebirds and a partridge in a pear tree.

Don’t forget Tommy: Edman crushed the Brewers for three hits and a run scored. His OPS+ for the season offensively is 40 percent above the league average. He leads the majors with 11 stolen bases. He has an overall dandy onbase percentage of .373, 15 extra base hits, and a .448 slug. Among 20 MLB leadoff hitters who have at least 100 No. 1 plate appearances, Edman ranks fourth with an OBP of .369.

Quality starts to count: The Cardinals are 20-8 this season if they benefit from Bill James’ version of the quality start. Without a quality start, the Cardinals are 4-12.

Fun Stats: Using baseball’s reference version of WAR, the Cardinals have three players who rank in the top five in the National League for wins over substitutes.

Top 5:

Manny Machado, 3.3
Tommy Edman, 2.9
Nolan Arenado, 2.6
Mookie Betts, 2.5
P. Goldschmidt, 2.3

Nolan Gorman: The rookie has been 0-9 with six strikeouts since his strong MLB debut weekend in Pittsburgh.

Pauly DeJong: In his last seven games at Triple A Memphis, the one-time Cardinals shortstop batted .333 with .925 OPS.

Edmundo Sosa: In 13 games and 51 plate appearances as a starter this season, the young midfielder has a .314 OBP and a .277 slug for a .590 OPS. But Sosa saved three runs defensively in 91 innings at shortstop.

Brendan Donovan: Among NL players with at least 70 plate appearances, the Cards rookie ranks first in onbase percentage (.444.) And his 16.7 percent walk rate ranks fourth in the NL behind Max Muncy (20, 2%), Austin Slater (18.8%). , and Juan Soto (18.3%).

Juan Yepez: He had an RBI against the Brewers but is batting .167 with .558 OPS in his last nine games. But Yepez is still getting things done; he’s got two homers and four RBI’s in that last nine.

Nolan Arenado: 11 for 61 (.180) with a .591 OPS in his last 17 games.

Update on STL’s Starting Shortstop Of The Future: In two games since being promoted to Double A Springfield, exciting baseball prodigy Masyn Winn is on 3 for 10 with a walk, double and four RBI. Combining his stats from the High Class A Peoria and Springfield, Winn hits .350 with a .584 slugging percentage, 21 extra base hits, 15 steals in 15 attempts and .988 OPS. I can’t wait to see Winn’s rocket arm take down stunned Cardinal opponents at first base with balls hit deep in the hole.

Thank you for reading…

Enjoy action-packed Friday night sports in downtown St.Louis with the Brewers-Cardinals and Avalanche Blues in downtown St.Louis.

-Bernie

Bernie invites you to listen to his quirky and analytical sports talk show on 590-AM The Fan, KFNS. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. You can listen to it via online streaming or download the Bernie Show podcast from 590thefan.com – the 590 app works great and is available in your favorite app store.

Follow Bernie on Twitter @miklasz

Please email your Ask Bernie questions to BernScoops@gmail.com

All statistics used herein are from FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, Stathead, Bill James Online, Fielding Bible, Baseball Savant, and Brooks Baseball Net unless otherwise noted.

Bernie Miklasz

Bernie Miklasz

For the past 35 years, Bernie Miklasz has entertained, enlightened and connected with generations of sports fans in St. Louis.

While best known for his voice as a senior sports columnist at Post-Dispatch for 26 years, Bernie has also written for The Athletic, Dallas Morning News and Baltimore News American. Bernie has hosted radio shows in St. Louis, Dallas, Baltimore and Washington DC

Bernie, his wife Kirsten, and their cats live in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood of St. Louis.

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