The Cardinals reached a new low over the weekend, losing two of three games to the Chicago White Sox, a hapless team that’s tied for the worst record in the majors this season. Shame on the home team.

At this point, nothing should surprise us about the Cardinals and their pratfalls. Metaphorically speaking, the fellers stumble and land on their buttocks with frustrating regularity. The offense isn’t the only problem. But it is by far the No. 1 problem, a reality known to every fan that suffers over this team. This isn’t just a bad offense. As I’ve pointed out, it’s historically wretched.

The St. Louis lack of pitching depth was exposed (again), with the Cardinals panicking and scrambling to organize a so-called bullpen game in time for Sunday’s matinee beatdown (5-1) by the White Sox.

Let’s see if I have this straight: The Cardinals lost starting pitcher Steven Matz to a back injury and had to wheel him to the IL for yet another stay in the infirmary. Matz going down with another ailment is the opposite of surprising; given his history, it’s to be expected. It’s predictable as could be. There was no surprise factor here. Not at all.

The St. Louis solution was to use one of their effective relievers, Matthew Liberatore, as the emergency starter. That reduced the staffing of relievers who were available to work on Sunday, and left the bullpen vulnerable. As if on cue, the White Sox pounced to break the game open against the specter of Giovanny Gallegos.

Seriously: this is the best the Cardinals could do? One starting pitcher goes on the IL, and they don’t have a single starter at Triple A Memphis ready to fill the void? We may see one of the Triple A arms start against the Mets, but that isn’t the point. The Cardinals had a chance to win the series … and blew it. I don’t care if it’s early; this organization can’t afford to be cavalier about anything. 

The Cardinals knew there was a problem with Matz on Wednesday when he pitched (weakly and terribly) in discomfort. They knew more after Matz had an MRI exam on Thursday. They knew for sure when placing Matz on the IL Friday.

The front office had several days to come up with a contingency plan for Sunday … and their decision was to blow up their own bullpen? There wasn’t a better option? One injury. The Cubs and Brewers are tied for first place in the NL Central, and each rival has four starting pitchers on the IL these days. For the Brewers it’s Brandon Woodruff, Wade Miley, DL Hall and Jakob Junis. For the Cubs, it’s ace Justin Steele, Kyle Hendricks, Jordan Wicks and Drew Smyly. And here are the Cardinals, having a little crisis because Matz went to the infirmary again.

Once upon a time – and for a long time – the Cardinals were among the two or three smartest baseball organizations in the majors. And their success proved it, time and time again. For many years, the Cardinals dominated the lesser, low-baseball IQ opponents that didn’t pose much of a threat.

And now look. The Cardinals have turned into one of the most fallible teams in the sport … the kind of teams the Cards  used to bully. And the evidence can be spotted, quickly, in the record. Since the start of last season, the Cardinals have a .439 winning percentage that ranks 25th overall. And in the National League only the Colorado Rockies (.342) have lost more games than St. Louis over the last two seasons.

Little will change in a significant way unless chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. is fully motivated to reverse his team’s embarrassing decline. It’s up to DeWitt, because the key members of the front office aren’t going to fire themselves. And for those of you who are calling for the dismissal of manager Oli Marmol —  I wonder why you’d want this front office to hire the next manager.

Sure, the Cardinals could tap into their nostalgia – which is what they do best, live in the past, come up with promotions to distract the fans – by bringing in one of their big-name baseball luminaries to take over in the dugout. Such a move would likely mollify a good percentage of the fan base. Ah, but the front office would still be the same. And the owner who protects the front office would be the same. The Cardinals exist in a mess of their own creation, stuck in a collective mindset that worked beautifully from 2000 through 2011. Those days are long gone. And if you see any signs of urgency within the organization to something about that, please let me know.

SLOW START IS 2ND WORST: At 15-19, the Cardinals are tied for the second worst start of the Bill DeWitt Jr. Era through the first 34 games of a season. This covers a span of 29 seasons.

* 2023: 10-24, .294
* 1996: 15-19, .441
* 1997: 15-19, .441
* 2002: 15-19, .441
* 2007: 15-19, .441
* 2024: 15-19, .441

The 1996 and 2002 Cardinals each recovered from the early troubles to make the playoffs. And both advanced to the NLCS before being eliminated.

WHERE THE BOYS ARE: The Cardinals are back in last place in the NL Central and trail the first-place Brewers and Cubs by 5 and ½ games … the Cardinals are 2.0 games out of the third NL wild card … St. Louis is 6-9 at Busch Stadium. That includes a 3-3 record against the Marlins and White Sox – teams that are 15-49 combined against non-Cardinal opponents this season.

THE MALAISE CONTINUES: After scoring only nine total runs in three games against the White Sox the Cardinals are averaging just 3.47 runs per game this season, which ranks 29th overall and 15th (last) in the NL. Among the 15 NL teams the Redbirds are last in in homers (23), slugging percentage (.330) and OPS (.625). And they are 14th in batting average (.214) and 13th in onbase percentage (.294)

The Cardinals scored three or fewer runs in two of the three games vs. the White Sox. That gives St. Louis 21 games of scoring three or fewer runs this season, tied for the second most in the majors. The Rockies have 22 such games. The Cardinals, Pirates and A’s have scored three or less 21 times. The Cards are 6-15 (.286) in those 21 games.

ABSURD STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Nolan Arenado, Willson Contreras and Michael Siani combined for 11 hits in 26 at-bats (.423) against the White Sox. All other Cardinals went 4 for 72 (.055) during the series. Arenado and Contreras drove in seven of the team’s nine runs … as a team the Cardinals batted .153 during the series and struck out 24.8 percent of the time … With runners in scoring position Arenado went 3 for 3; the rest of the team was 1 for 17 (.058). Sad.

GIOVANNY GALLEGOS LOOKS DONE: He’s either injured, or cooked, or both. The White Sox clobbered him in Sunday’s 7th inning to break the game open. Gallegos faced only three batters, and it went like this: home run, double, double.

Ten of the 14 hits cranked against Gallegos this season have gone for either a double (5) or homer (5). On a rate basis, Gallegos has destroyed for an average of 14 hits per nine innings, 7 walks per nine innings, and five home runs per nine.

This season 224 big-league relievers have pitched at least nine innings.

Here’s where Gallegos ranks among the 224:

12.00 ERA is 224th. Worst.
5.0 HRs per nine innings, 224th. Worst.
.829 slugging percentage, 224th. Worst.
.438 onbase percentage, 221st.
.341 batting average, 216th.
14.6 percent walk rate, 195th
Hard-hit rate, 53.6 percent, 221st.

Since the start of the 2023 season Gallegos has a 5.48 ERA that ranks 176th among 185 big-league relievers that have worked at least 50 innings over that time. His homers-allowed rate of 2.3 per nine innings is the second worst among relievers. And the .525 slugging percentage yielded by Gallegos is third worst.

For Gallegos, last season was really bad. This season is much worse. And this can’t continue. Statistically, Gallegos is the worst reliever in the majors this season. As I wrote last week his four-seam fastball velocity and slider velocity are significantly down from two years ago.

The repercussions are extreme. This season opponents are hitting the Gallegos slider for a .308 average and .577 slug. And they are pummeling his four-seam fastball for a .400 average and 1.267 slug.

The Cardinals gave Gallegos a two-year, $11 million contract before the 2023 season. He’s making $5.5 million this season. The front office is stuck with another bad contract, but this will likely work in the reliever’s favor.

The front office doesn’t like to acknowledge a payroll-related mistake – and there have been many – and that gives Gallegos protection. Maybe the Cardinals will actually try to win instead of playing payroll politics again. We’ll see.


The Cardinals are 2-3 in their first five home series of the season. Since the start of 2023 the Cardinals have won only 11 of 30 series at Busch Stadium – losing 17 and splitting two. Over the last two seasons the Cardinals are 41-55 at Busch for a .427 home winning percentage. Only Washington (.417) has done worse at home among NL teams.

Appreciation for Willson Contreras. He’s the one guy you can count on. The Cardinals have averaged 2.25 runs in their last four games but don’t blame the catcher-DH. In the four games Contreras was 5 for 13 with four walks, a double and two home runs. There’s nothing weak-minded with this man.

Paul Goldschmidt went 0 for 12 against the White Sox with six strikeouts. In his last four games Goldy is 0 for 15 with seven strikeouts. For the season the St. Louis first baseman is batting .208 with a stunningly low .280 slugging percentage. And Goldschmidt’s current 30.8 percent strikeout percentage would be his worst in a season. Goldy’s 68 OPS+ puts him 32 percent below league average offensively.

Last season Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado and Nolan Gorman combined for a .459 slugging percentage. This season their combined slugging% is .294.

Lars Nootbaar: disappointment. After homering in his first game back from the IL on April 12, this is what he’s done in his last 20 contests: .164 average, no homers, .256 onbase percentage and .233 slug. For the season his 55 OPS+ puts Nootbaar 45 percent below league average offensively.

Rookie shortstop Masyn Winn had a hit Sunday but is only 8 for 48 (.167) in his last 16 games. Winn has only one walk in his last 25 plate appearances. His batting average peaked at .370 on April 15 and is now down to .266.

Arenado went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts Sunday to cool down his weekend. Arenado had five hits, two doubles, a homer and six RBIs in the first two games of the series. He’s batting .316 with an .865 OPS over his last 21 games.

Next up: the Mets are in town for the next three games.

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. Friday. Stream it live or access 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.

Stats used in my baseball columns are sourced from FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, StatHead, Baseball Savant, Baseball Prospectus, Sports Info Solutions, Spotrac 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.