The eyes of the baseball world will watch as the St. Louis Cardinals continue their homestand on Friday. They will watch a team that did not stand in solidarity with others in Major League Baseball.
In the last two days several MLB teams, including the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds, chose to postpone their regular-season games. This came after initial examples from NBA players who boycotted playoff games in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The intent of such decisive action was to renew conversation around the experiences of Black Americans in society and continuing the steps taken in the wake George Floyd’s death.
Teams including the Dodgers, Mariners, Giants, Padres and Angels first chose to postpone their games on Wednesday. Every other team in baseball followed suit on Thursday. That is, besides the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Because of St. Louis’ early-season COVID-19 setback, the players’ choice to postpone any game was difficult to gauge. In fact, the Cardinals have played four double-headers since resuming their season, including Thursday’s winless afternoon and evening. Teams may look to see if St. Louis acts in kind with postponements that have already taken place.
Cardinals Jack Flaherty and Dexter Fowler chose to sit out Wednesday night’s game to bring attention to Blake’s cause. The team issued a statement of support on behalf of both players’ decisions. Teammates reportedly texted the pair with a similar response on Wednesday. The Cardinals ultimately decided to continue with their homestand.
Flaherty has been very vocal during recent interviews and on social media about the Black Lives Matter movement. The young right-hander also addressed the media before Thursday’s twin-bill, emphasizing his desire to be a greater part of action taken by MLB players. He wanted to do more than just talk the talk.
“I haven’t done enough,” Flaherty said. “It’s hard to look back and be like, well why haven’t I done anything up to this point?… I’ve missed on those opportunities and I truly don’t want to miss any of those opportunities going forward to make change.”
Mixed Bag on Homestand so Far
Facing a difficult start to a 12-game homestand, the Cardinals managed to win three games against the Reds last weekend. Those wins came courtesy of timely hitting, decent pitching, a Reds’ bullpen collapse and a bit of luck — just for good measure.
Paul DeJong and Yadier Molina returned from the COVID-19 list in this four-game set. Molina’s spectacular 4-for-5, 2 RBI performance on Sunday particularly stood out. Paul Goldschmidt also continued his hot streak with three hits in the series as he anchored the heart of the St. Louis order.
Then came the club’s first reunion with their former manager, now-turned Kansas City Royals skipper Mike Matheny. Though neither side overtly seemed to harbor ill-will, the running joke on Cardinal fans’ Twitter saw former Cardinal players provoking painful déjà vu:
hurting my feelings
— Keely (@keelynstl) August 26, 2020
Matheny doesn’t just get to use Rosenthal 2 days in a row and him be really good that’s not fair that’s not how it works
— Quinn (@QuinnSTLCards) August 27, 2020
And perhaps the best of all (he’s referring to former Cardinal Greg Holland):
We are legally entitled to at least 3 runs off Holland as compensation for pain and suffering
— Quinn (@QuinnSTLCards) August 27, 2020
St. Louis went on to take two out of three in the I-70 Series. It was a battle featuring an effective Flaherty start, Goldschmidt’s other-worldly power in game one and even a game-ending walk.
After dropping both games of Thursday’s double-header, the Cardinals will continue their homestand against the Cleveland Indians on Friday. Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-2, 5.25 ERA) will take the mound versus revered prospect Triston McKenzie (1-0, 1.50 ERA) on MLB’s celebration of Jackie Robinson Day.
Other News & Notes
Mike Schildt seems to be following through on his promise to provide Dylan Carlson ample playing time. In 17 games, Carlson is batting .196 with three RBIs, six runs scored and 16 strikeouts. Carlson recorded his first home run in Sunday’s finale with the Reds.
The Redbirds also placed Andrew Miller on the 10-day injured list on Thursday with left shoulder fatigue. The move leaves the Cardinals four left-handed options out of the in their bullpen. Starter Kwang-Hyun Kim may rotate into this role as well. Junior Fernandez was reinstated from the injured list in a corresponding move.
It is unclear whether the Cardinals will make a move before Monday’s August 31st trade deadline. John Mozeliak and general manager Michael Girsch have generally shown resistance to deadline deals. Trading prospects for major league-ready talent has not been the pair’s M.O., and that trend might continue this year. The club has not been connected to any trade targets thus far, according to reports.
Featured Image Courtesy of Jeff Curry & USA Today Sports
“From Our Haus to Yours”