The Bottom Line:
— The St. Louis Cardinals (71-59) lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates (70-60) by a score of 5-0 on Wednesday night. The Cardinals lead is now down to just one game for the second slot in the National League Wild Card ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
— Joe Kelly gave up five earned runs over five innings, including 8 hits, 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts.
— Trevor Rosenthal pitched terrifically, giving up no earned runs in three innings pitched. He let up one hit and struck out two.
— The Pirates scored in the first inning off of a Garret Jones RBI-double and never looked back, scoring 3 in the third and 1 in the fifth.
— The last time the Cardinals were shut out in back-to-back games was on June 1 and 2 when they were shutout by Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets.
The Cardinals left 7 men on base tonight and only had one opportunity to score with runners in scoring position, an at-bat in which Matt Holliday flew out to Pirates right fielder Travis Snider. They were shut out for the second night in a row and look completely lost at the plate. Of course not having Yadier Molina in the lineup is a minus, but I don’t think that’s what the cause of the last two nights were. For what it’s worth, Tony Cruz went 1-for-3 tonight.
Joe Kelly really did not pitch all that badly. Besides a mistake to Pedro Alvarez, who hit his 7th home run of the season against the Cardinals, I thought Kelly was decent. Unfortunately, it’s those little mistakes that can often come back to haunt you in a baseball game. Trevor Rosenthal had by far his best outing since being called up to the Major Leagues, throwing three nearly flawless innings.
This time of year, every game is often thought to be the “biggest game of the year” or “a must-win”. Not every game should be labeled as so. It’s still August 29. The Cardinals still have a one-game lead in the Wild Card and there is still plenty of baseball to be played. It is not the end of the world. I know fans are going to be explaining to me why this is a sign of bad things to come, but it’s simply an overreaction. The best teams in the league lose 60-70 games every year. They even lose series too. The Nats are a tough team, but like everyone else, they’re not impossible to beat. I believe Molina will be back in the lineup tomorrow night and should hopefully be a boost to this offense.
What’s Next: The Cardinals travel to Washington to kick off a four-game series against the Nationals where former Cardinal Edwin Jackson will take on Jaime Garcia, who will be making his third start since coming of the disabled list. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM CST and can be seen on Fox Sports Midwest. As always, all pre and post game information can be found on CardsBlog.