The Dodgers are the Dodgers.

The Cardinals are not the Dodgers, and no one of sound baseball mind should expect them to be.

The visitors are at Dodger Stadium with two more losses to go. Err, I meant to say two more games to go. Perhaps the Cardinals will scram down to San Diego with at least one win.

I would have liked to see the Cardinals put up more resistance over the first 48 hours instead of getting outscored 13-4. But when your batters hit one home run and your pitchers get bombed for six homers, there’s no real competition.

LA homered twice in the sunny Thursday game and doubled up on that with four against St. Louis pitchers on Friday night.

Last season when major-league teams cranked two or more home runs in a game, their winning percentage was .690. When launching fewer than two homers in a game, MLB teams had a .405 winning percentage.

The Cardinals and Dodgers are set to play Game 3 on Saturday night, but rain is in the forecast. The Cardinals could use some help, and a rain-out would cool the Dodgers off.


* In their first two games of the season Cardinals starting pitchers faced 43 batters and were belted for five home runs. Seven of the 13 hits against Miles Mikolas and Zack Thompson went for extra bases, with the Dodgers teeing off on them for a .789 slugging percentage. The Dodgers have a great lineup but that doesn’t justify the extensive carnage that occurred in the stadium on the hill.

* Mikolas and Thompson combined for a 9.31 ERA in their 9.2 innings. This is not how the Cardinals wanted to get started in 2024. Though I passed along the statistics – this column is a Review, after all – it’s too early for berserk overreaction. NFL: each team plays 17 regular-season games. MLB: each team plays 162 regular-season games. For me, anyway, it will take time to get a meaningful read on the state of the STL rotation.

* Oli Marmol praised Mikolas and Thompson for how they threw the ball, and used the word “nice” to compliment them. I understand why Marmol wants to take a positive tone early on and be supportive of his guys. There’s no reason for the manager to go ballistic on his players after two games of the new season – especially with the Dodgers as an opponent. But I hope Marmol remembers that Cardinals fans are watching the game at home and saw the Dodgers hammer away at two St. Louis starters. The manager can successfully spin the media, but the fans know what they saw.

* We saw some wicked stuff from the St. Louis bullpen in the first two games. The relievers pitched 6 and ⅓ innings, gave up four hits and a .174 batting average, posted a WHIP of 0.95 and struck out 40 percent of the 25 batters faced. The Dodgers scored three runs against the STL relievers but that didn’t offset the positives.

* Giovanny Gallegos, the good: in his first appearance of the season, he faced six Dodgers on Friday and struck out four of ‘em. But Gio also gave up a solo home run. And that’s something we’ll be monitoring. Last season Gallegos was smashed for 11 homers and an inflated average of 1.8 HRs allowed per nine innings. Before 2023, Gallegos did an outstanding job of preventing homers.

* We have to like what we’ve seen so far from the St. Louis defense. Shortstop Masyn Winn was splendid in Friday’s game. Center fielder Victor Scott II flashed his speed and range. The Cardinals converted 70 percent of the balls in play into outs in the first two games, an improvement from last season when the Cards had their worst defensive efficiency rating since 1930. Two games is just two games, but I wanted to see early signs of defensive improvement. Set a higher standard and do better. And why not do it from the start? If this defense stinks again, I’ll make sure to make a big deal about it – just as I did persistently in 2023.

* Cardinals hitters were absolutely dominated by Dodgers starting pitchers Tyler Glasnow and Bobby Miller in the first two games. The two righthanders struck out 37.2 percent of batters faced, racking 16 strikeouts in their combined 12 innings.

* As a team the Cardinals had only four hits in 41 at-bats (.098) against Glasnow and Miller. Paull Goldschmidt had two of the four hits; the other Cardinals were 2 for 36 (.055) against the LA starters and struck out 14 times. Yikes.

* In the first two games Goldschmidt, Nolan Gorman and Masyn Winn had seven hits in 20 at-bats for a .350 average. They combined for three RBIs and three runs scored and Goldy hit a homer. I should point out that Gorman struck out four times in the first two games. But at least he produced some offense. Here’s all we need to know: Putting Goldschmidt, Gorman and Winn aside, the other Cardinals had two hits in 43 at-bats through the first two games. And as a team the Cardinals were 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position. St. Louis drew only three walks in the two games – two by Goldy.

* Nolan Arenado is off to an 0 for 7 start but had a sac fly RBI on Friday.

* Believe it or not, nine MLB teams had scored fewer runs than the Cardinals through Friday.

* Outfielder Alec Burleson is getting a chance to earn playing time and more starts. The early 0 for 7 didn’t strengthen his case, and it won’t be long until Lars Nootbaar and Dylan Carlson return.

Thanks for reading …


A 2023 inductee into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, Bernie hosts an opinionated and analytical sports-talk show on 590 The Fan, KFNS. It airs 3-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4-6 p.m. on Friday. Stream it live or grab the show podcast on or through the 590 The Fan St. Louis app.

Please follow Bernie on Twitter @miklasz and on Threads @miklaszb

For weekly Cards talk, listen to the “Seeing Red” podcast with Will Leitch and Miklasz via or through your preferred podcast platform. Follow @seeingredpod on Twitter for a direct link.

All stats used in my baseball columns are sourced from FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, StatHead, Baseball Savant, Baseball Prospectus, Sports Info Solutions and Cot’s Contracts 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.