It was a yucky homestand, with the Cardinals (64-61) winning only three of their eight games against Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Detroit.

It was a homestand of steamy weather, chilly offense and a vanishing sea of red. Plenty of good seats were available, and unclaimed.

It was a homestand that honored the legacies of the late Bob Gibson and Lou Brock and introduced a new class of franchise Hall of Famers.

On this homestand the hero of October 2011, David Freese, came home.

And catcher Yadier Molina agreed to stay home, behind home plate, for another year.

It was a homestand of injury and inadequacy and eight games peeled off the schedule. The Cardinals are down to 37 games. But they are not down and out — no matter how many times they slip or stray or harm themselves.


1–The Pitching Staff: In the eight games the Cardinals allowed only 22 earned runs in 74 innings for a 2.68 ERA. They held the Brewers, Pirates and Tigers to a .239 average, .300 onbase percentage and .395 slugging percentage. The staff’s walk rate was a respectable 7.3%.

The starting pitchers had a 3.19 ERA in 42.1 but got popped for 19 extra-base hits and a .441 slug. Even with some shaky performances from closer Alex Reyes the St. Louis relievers combined for a 1.99 ERA and limited opponents to a .226 average and .574 OPS.

For the most part the pitchers came through, giving up only 3.4 runs per game. Their efforts were squandered by a lethargic St. Louis offense that scored three runs or fewer in five of the eight games.

2–A Few Hot Bats: A number of hitters did well but especially Paul Goldschmidt, Tommy Edman, Lars Nootbaar and Yadier Molina.

Goldy batted .382 with a 1.526 OPS and banged five doubles and three homers. Since the All-Star break he’s batting .324 with a .883 OPS, eight homers, 10 doubles, 23 runs and 24 RBI. Also notable is his .324 average and .500 slugging percentage since the break.

Edman hit .324 with a .807 OPS and continued his significant improvement vs. RHP; he’s batting .362 with a .923 OPS against righthanders this month.

Nootbaar, the rookie outfielder, was very good, batting .296 with a .811 OPS plus a homer, double, three walks, two runs and the game-winning hit in Wednesday’s 3-2 win.

3–Yadier Molina: the iconic catcher batted .304 during the homestand and agreed to a one-year contract for 2022 that will pay him $10 million. It will be a year of celebration. Get ready for Yadipalooza.


1–Jack Flaherty’s Injury: The Cardinals lost their young gun, starting pitcher Jack Flaherty, to a right shoulder strain. He could miss the remainder of the season. Flaherty made only two full starts, and one aborted start, after returning from an oblique tear that kept him on the IL from June 1 through Aug. 12. Because of the pandemic-truncated schedule in 2020 and the two serious injuries in 2021, Flaherty has made only 23 starts over the last two years. A total of 114 MLB starting pitchers have made more starts than Flaherty during the last two seasons.

In 14 starts this season Flaherty has a 3.08 ERA, and the Cardinals went 10-4 in his assignments. St. Louis has a 54-57 record in non-Flaherty starts this year. The Cards  are 22-11 this season in games started by Adam Wainwright or Flaherty; they’ve gone 42-50 when others start.

2–The Offense Was Terrible Overall: the Cardinals scored 25 runs in eight games. And eight of the 25 runs came in one game against Milwaukee. Otherwise the Cardinals averaged 2.4 runs in their other seven games. For the homestand they batted .227 with a .341 slug and .657 OPS, batted .194 with runners in scoring position, and hit .206 with men on base.

Nolan Arenado went 4 for 34 (.118.) Harrison Bader went 3 for 30 (.100.) Paul DeJong was 3 for 18 (.167.) And while left fielder Tyler O’Neill hit pretty well doing the homestand, he missed two starts with a minor back ailment. O’Neill ranks fifth on the team for most plate appearances this season and has only 19 more PA than Molina, the 39-year-old catcher who plays a brutally tough position.

3–Losing Time, Wasting Time: The Cardinals may be only 3.5 games behind the Reds in the No. 2 wildcard race, and the deficit could be worse. I get that. But the Cardinals are hanging in the race because other, sputtering wildcard contenders keep them there. But when you host three teams — two with losing records — and go 3-5, that’s embarrassing. The Cardinals lost two series (Brewers and Pirates) and split a two-gamer with the Tigers. Had the Cardinals gone 5-3 instead of 3-5 — hardly too much to ask for — they’d be only 1.5 games behind the Reds.

Beginning Thursday night, the Cardinals will spend a four-game weekend in Pittsburgh. The Redbirds are 6-0 at PNC Park this season.

Let’s move on …


Standings check: The Reds lead the Padres by a game, the Cardinals by 3.5 games, and the Phillies by five games.

Remaining strength of schedule: It’s based on the average records of each team’s remaining opponents:

  • Reds opponents: 58-68
  • Padres opponents: 72-54
  • Cardinals opponents: 66-60
  • Phillies opponents: 54-72

Comments: Advantage, Reds … the Phillies are skidding, having lost 10 of their last 14 games. But the pudding-soft schedule will help them … The Padres will play 22 of their final 27 games of the season against the Giants (10 times), Dodgers (six times), Astros (three times), and Braves (three times.) Those four teams have an average record of 76-50 … by the way, Yu Darvish is set to return to San Diego’s rotation with Thursday night’s start against the Dodgers. Darvish missed time with a back strain.

Wild-Card Probability Percentage: We turn to FanGraphs…

  • Reds, 61.3%
  • Padres, 26.9%
  • Cardinals, 5.4%
  • Phillies, 3.2%
  • Mets, 0.6%


➨ Jon Lester pitched well Wednesday, with the Tigers scratching him for one run in five innings. Two of his last three starts were above average in Game Score. And though his August 19 start vs. Milwaukee wasn’t good, Lester has a 3.60 ERA in his last three outings and the Cardinals won all three games. J.A. Happ has a 1.99 ERA in four starts joining the Cardinals. The Cardinals are 5-4 in Lester and Happ’s combined nine starts.

➨ Another pickup, Wade LeBlanc, pitched to a 3.53 ERA in eight starts before hurting his left elbow. All in all, the three experienced lefties have done a solid job for the Cardinals. In their regular-season careers Lester, Happ and LeBlanc have combined for 894 starts and 5,493 innings.

➨ Manager Mike Shildt correctly noted another factor that’s helped the three lefties in their transition as Cardinals: the benefit of having Yadier Molina as your catcher. “The veteran guys who have come over — Lester, Happ, LeBlanc — say ‘This guy has already made me better,’ ” Shildt said after Wednesday’s victory.

➨ The more we see of Lars Nootbaar, the more there is to like. His LH bat is a good fit for an offense that’s overloaded with RH hitters. In 43 plate appearances this month Nootbaar is batting .333 with a .395 onbase percentage and .615 slugging percentage. Small sample, yes. But impressive.

➨ So, how is the new-look outfield doing? It’s time for an update. Going into the season the St. Louis front office committed to a plan to install Tyler O’Neill, Harrison Bader and Dylan Carlson as starting outfielders. And the threesome has 72.3 percent of the plate appearances taken by St. Louis outfielders this season. Others prominent in the mix (mostly due to injuries) along the way are Tommy Edman, Justin Williams, Nootbar, and Lane Thomas. Those four have taken 22.4% of the plate appearances made by STL outfielders.

➨ Through Wednesday, here’s how the St. Louis outfield compares to other outfields in the 15-team National League:

  • Average: .247, 6th
  • Onbase: .319, 11th
  • Slugging: .412,  8th
  • OPS:  .731, 11th
  • Isolated Power: .165, 9th
  • Strikeout rate: 25.2%, 14th
  • Walk rate: 8.4%,  12th
  • Homers: 50, 9th
  • RBI: 154, 14th

In park-and-league adjusted runs created, the St. Louis outfield group is exactly average (100 wRC+) this season.

Having said all of this, the St. Louis outfield has done better since the All-Star break, coming in at 18 percent above league average offensively in park-and-league adjusted runs created. The group is fifth in the NL in OBP and slugging pct. for a .797 OPS since the break — but is still way down the list (14th) in RBI.

➨ Next on the Sked: The four-game set at Pittsburgh. The Cardinals will start (in order) Miles Mikolas, Happ, Wainwright and, presumably Kwang Hyun Kim. Listed starters for the Pirates, in order, are Mitch Keller, Dillon Peters, Steven Brault and Will Crowe.

Thanks for reading …


Bernie invites you to listen to his opinionated sports-talk show on 590-AM The Fan, KFNS. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen by streaming online or by downloading the “Bernie Show” podcast at  — the 590 app works great and is available in your preferred app store.

The weekly “Seeing Red” podcast with Bernie and Will Leitch is available at

Follow Bernie on Twitter @miklasz

* All stats used here are sourced 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 last 36 years Bernie Miklasz has entertained, enlightened, and connected with generations of St. Louis sports fans.

While best known for his voice as the lead sports columnist at the Post-Dispatch for 26 years, Bernie has also written for The Athletic, Dallas Morning News and Baltimore News American. A 2023 inductee into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, Bernie has hosted radio shows in St. Louis, Dallas, Baltimore and Washington D.C.

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