ST. LOUIS--When St. Louis Cardinals' manager Tony La Russa walked into the room for his postgame press conference Monday night, he had a look of frustration, exhaustion, and disgust.
After a poor homestand against the Cincinnati Reds, in which the Cardinals split the four-game set, they have started off a four-game series with the Colorado Rockies by getting blasted 11-4 and 10-1, respectively.
Cardinals starting pitcher Todd Wellemeyer, who has been the weakest link in the rotation this season, looked dismal in his seven innings.
He threw 112 pitches, 71 for strikes, and gave up six runs. His biggest issue, though, was control. He allowed three walks, and all of them resulted in runs for the visiting Rockies.
“He did all right,” La Russa said after the game. “But it’s not good enough.”
There is one telling stat that shows that Wellemeyer is obviously not doing well enough. According to Matthew Leach, reporter at stlcardinals.com, Wellemeyer has allowed more runs in one inning than the Cardinals’ have scored in one game six out of the last 12 starts.
I don’t care how you shake it, that’s not going to get it done.
Neither pitching nor hitting has been very effective for the Cardinals lately. With two outs, Wellemeyer gave up a three-run blast to Ian Stewart, who finished the night with 5 RBIs, and the route was in session.
Rookie Blake Hawksworth made his Major League debut and pitched a scoreless frame before letting up a three-run home run to Todd Helton.
Pitching isn’t the only concern for the Cardinals, though.
Their lone run was scored on a Rick Ankiel home run, and furthermore, the Cardinals didn’t have a runner in scoring position all night.
Even more telling is the fact that the Cards are 6-for-46 with runners in scoring position on this homestand.
Something has to change. The Cardinals have tried calling up relievers to stop the bleeding, but for now those pitchers have been seeing the mop-up innings or as La Russa would refer to them, the “[insert expletive here] innings” due to blowouts.
After sitting around and waiting for the front office to make a move, I’m slowly but surely running out of time and patience.
La Russa vowed tonight that the Cardinals can “work on things and we can fix it”, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Not with this lineup. Not with the way this pitching staff is tossing the ball, save for Chris Carpenter.
As I look over my notes from the last couple of days at the ballpark, I’m seeing a lot of circles around plays on my scorecard on the Cardinals' side.
Those indicate outs, for those of you didn't follow. The Cardinals hit a mind-boggling 4-for-30 on the night. Any major league team would be lucky to lose by three runs given that offensive statline.
What started out as a joke around the press box, is rapidly becoming a reality: if the Cardinals’ pitching lets up four or more runs, the game is essentially over.
They have scored more than three runs only twice in their last nine contests, including a 3-1 victory on Thursday night against the Reds.
La Russa keeps lobbying for another bat, going so far as to say that the Oakland Athletics’ outfielder Matt Holliday is a “bat of interest”.
But for right now, it doesn’t seem as though general manager John Mozeliak feels comfortable pulling the trigger on a deal despite his aggressive public remarks.
From a GM who said earlier this week at the ballpark that the Cardinals were definitely weighing their options and taking offers seriously, there’s nothing to show for it.
In the meantime though, the fans are booing, the tension is growing, and most importantly, the Cardinals are losing.