The Cardinals walked into their Saturday double-header with the White Sox with significant levels of uncertainty. Through Monday’s double-header with the Cubs, St. Louis continues to surprise themselves.
Not only did the Cardinals win three games in three days, but they utilized strategies that the team had been loath to try previously. Adam Wainwright threw five innings on Saturday, and the club survived two short starts from Dakota Hudson and Kwung-Hyun Kim over the next two days. The decision to designate two contests as bullpen games stood out for Mike Schildt in particular. His staff’s health after a long layoff definitely played a role in Schildt’s decision, and it worked to the club’s advantage. Though a plethora of young arms who debuted this weekend, the Cardinals bullpen held just long enough to come out with a series win and another strong series start.
Dylan Carlson (and others) Debuts
The young stud didn’t shine versus the White Sox, but neither did the club on the whole. Carlson did record his first hit while playing staunch outfield defense. In five games, Carlson has recorded two hits. By itself, that isn’t enough reason for concern after Carlson played in just 18 games in triple-A last season. This is the first competitive game action the outfielder has seen in nearly 10 months. Schildt has committed to giving Carlson playing time, so he’ll have time to adjust at the plate.
Rookies Seth Elledge, John Nogowski and Max Schrock similarly debuted over the five games, each turning in a commendable appearance. Such is the depth of the Cardinals’ minor league system, with multiple prospects ready to contribute at a moment’s notice.
Reliever Roel Ramirez was the lone player in the bunch that struggled and did so in quite a disastrous way. Ramirez faced eight batters but recorded just two outs, allowing four consecutive home runs along the way. That mark tied major league history for the most home runs ever given up in a player’s debut. Ramirez, however, became the only pitcher to allow those four home runs consecutively.
Hero Mode: Activated
Veteran Brad Miller burst on the scene on Saturday, shining during the Cardinals 3-1 victory in Monday’s early game against the Cubs. Miller guided a fly ball over center fielder Albert Almora Jr. and drove in the game’s winning runs.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 17, 2020
The utilityman was also on his way to being the hero in game two, recording two home runs and a walk before the bullpen blew a 4-1 lead in the sixth. St. Louis would go on to lose by a score of 5-4. Through Miller’s eyes, after several teams and various stints on the injured list over the past few seasons, Saturday’s performance gives him hope. Should Miller continue this kind of production he might expect to play more frequently, as Schildt tries to keep his hitters fresh. One day is not an entire career, but Monday certainly was a high point for Brad Miller.
Up Next for St. Louis
Daniel Ponce de Leon (0-1, 6.75) takes the mound on Wednesday night in game three of the series with the northside Cubs. He’ll take on Yu Darvish (3-1, 1.88), who has been stellar thus far and a tough Cubs lineup. Jack Flaherty (1-0, 2.57) makes his second start of the season on Wednesday afternoon.
Elsewhere, Carlos Martínez and Edmundo Sosa are clear to resume baseball activities following their respective IL stints. Sosa moved to the injured list after a positive COVID-19 test and was one of the Cardinals players who were infected with the virus. Martínez was placed on the injured list for an undisclosed reason. It’s expected that Martínez’s return will last longer than Sosa’s will.
Featured Image Courtesy of CBS Sports
“From Our Haus to Yours”