The blitz keeps coming. After another dull, zombies-in-the yard performance and a 5-1 loss to the Angels, the Cardinals are 10-20 through the first 30 games since 1972.

I’m not sure what happened to the ‘72 Redirds, a ballclub that received above-average performances (per OPS+) from hitters Ted Simmons, Joe Torre, Lou Brock, Matty Alou, Bernie Carbo and Joe Hague. And on the pitching side the squad had above-average showings (per ERA+) from Bob Gibson, Rick Wise, Scipio Spinks, Moe Drabowsky and Diego Sequi.

This fine nucleus finished with a .481 winning percentage. Even with the slow start to the campaign, you’d think the fellers would have won a larger share of their games. It didn’t happen, which leads me to conclude a couple of things:

1) Baseball can be weird.

2) If that ‘72 team could win only 10 of its first 30 games with future Hall of Famers Gibson, Brock and Torre, the 2023 Cardinals shouldn’t feel so ashamed after doing the same.

I enjoyed the candor comment from team president Bill DeWitt III, offered a couple of hours before Tuesday’s game: “We haven’t had an April like this since the DeWitts have been involved,” he said. “been involved,” Bill DeWitt III said. “It’s a real clunker. You have to go back in history to see months where we’ve been this bad.”

After another hideous loss, manager Oli Marmol struck a defiant tone. Hold your tears and put a plug in your ridicule because his men will rise up, filled with pride and resilience. Oli’s men will take down sneering opponents, and make the critics choke on their own bile for writing and saying nasty things. (Reminder: You’re not allowed to tell the truth about the Cardinals, And if you do, then you are Lucifer.)

“The league loves watching us fail because we’re good every year. So, there’s not a team out there that’s sitting back and feeling sorry for us,” Marmol said. “No one’s going to hand us anything. We’re going to have to dig deep and prove everybody wrong and we’re up for the task.”

The Cardinals have lost four in a row and 11 of their last 13. Their first game in May looked a helluva lot like most games in March-April.

The hitters have ice packs on their bats, the starting pitchers have a 6.15 ERA in the first two innings of game, and the bizarrely passive Cardinals refuse to be aggressive on the bases – even as many other teams run wild. The Pirates are in first place in the NL Central for many reasons including this fact: Pittsburgh leads the majors with 42 stolen bases. St. Louis has 19.

Marmol’s teams sit back and wait for something good to come their way. But there is no Santa Claus in baseball; you have to go get what you want. And sitting back is not good for this team for another reason.

It gives Marmol too much time to think – I should say overthink – and come up with stuff he believes will give the Cardinals a devious extra edge.

You know, like starting Andrew Knizner at catcher in three of the last five games. Hey, he’s hitting .138 and is, per OPS+, 105 percent BELOW average offensively. And he was among the worst pitch-framing catchers in the majors last season.

I don’t know if something is getting lost in translation when the information is passed along. It goes from the analytics department, to the front office, to the manager. And somehow, the brilliant minds decided on Knizner as the catcher. At least recently. This is how you end up signing Willson Contreras to a five-year, $87.5 million contract and start using him as a DH. And yes his defense could be better, but it isn’t bad. This is a strange way to roll out your new, big-name catcher.

Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani better stand down because the Cardinals are coming after him tonight.

Question: If the Cardinals can’t start competing respectably and winning games when will the shakeup begin?

ACCOUNTING DEPARTMENT: With Tuesday’s loss, the Cardinals’ winning percentage is .333 which ties them with the Rockies for the worst in the National League. The only teams that have done worse so far are Oakland (6-24, .200), Kansas City (7-23, .233) and the Chicago White Sox (9-21, .300.) The last-place Cards trail first-place Pittsburgh by 10 games in the NL Central and have fallen three games behind fourth-place Cincinnati.

DORMANT OFFENSE: During their four-game losing skid the Cardinals have scored only seven total runs, batted .183 and put up a .467 OPS … The offense has scored three or fewer runs in seven of its last 11 games, going 2-9 over that time … the Redbirds haven’t homered since hitting two home runs in their 6-0 win at San Francisco on April 27. They haven’t gone deep in their last 132 at-bats . For the season the Cardinals rank 19th in the majors with an average of 1.07 homers per game. Last season St. Louis was ninth in the majors with an average of 1.21 homers per contest … the Cardinals had a .449 slugging percentage over their first 12 games but have slugged .390 in their last seven games … going into Wednesday’s start against Ohtani, the Cardinals rank 21st in the majors with their average of 4.13 runs per game. I still believe this offense will come around, simply because of their impressive hard-contact that will lead to better results.

STAT OF THE DAY: Texas outfielder Adolis Garcia has eight home runs this season. St. Louis outfielders – all of them – have combined for eight homers this season.

NOLAN ARENADO UPDATE: He went 0 for 3 Tuesday with a walk and hit into a double play in the sixth inning. Arenado is batting .164 with a .179 slug and one RBI in his last 17 games.

— Per OPS+, Arenado is 35 percent below league average offensively this season.

— Among 148 MLB hitters that have at least 100 plate appearances this season Arenado ranks No. 139 in slugging (.310) and No. 142 in OPS (.590.)

— Arenado has two homers this season; 168 big-league hitters had more through Tuesday.

Words fail me.

ANOTHER FAILURE FOR STEVEN MATZ: The Angels jumped on the lefty early, with their first six hitters putting four runs on the board in the top of the first inning. The big blow was a three-run homer by Taylor Ward. Through his first six starts Matz has a 6.39 ERA, and the Cardinals are 0-6 in those starts. In his 15 starts as a Cardinal, Matz has a 5.99 ERA. Over the last two years, Matz has been roughed up in the first inning, giving up five homers and a .563 slugging percentage to 67 batters faced.

When will the Cardinals put Matz in the bullpen and promote lefty starter Matthew Liberatore to the majors? Or did the front office trade Randy Arozarena to Tampa Bay for Liberatore to give the Triple A Memphis a better chance to win a title?

ROTATION WOES: Cardinals starters collectively have pitched to a 5.01 ERA this season, which ranks 20th in the majors. The .469 slugging percentage against them is the sixth-highest against a MLB rotation, and the starters rank 23rd with a yield of 1.4 homers per nine innings.

When your starters have one of the lowest strikeout rates in the majors (20.3%), the defense must be great. And so far in 2023 the STL defense, ranking 28th in defensive efficiency, hasn’t been solid enough to save the starters.

There are other problems: The St. Louis rotation ranks 30th in getting hitters to chase pitches out of the zone (24%), and they’re in the bottom five for swinging-strike percentage (9.5%.) This combination is harmful to their pitching health.

But yeah, let’s just keep talking about bloops and nubbers and bad luck.

SHORT STARTS: Through 30 games the Cardinals have gotten only six starts that lasted 6+ innings. This is not particularly beneficial.

Thanks for reading …


Bernie invites you to listen to his sports-talk show on 590 The Fan, KFNS-AM. 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 show podcast at or the 590 app.

Follow Bernie on Twitter @miklasz

Listen to the “Seeing Red” podcast on the Cardinals, featuring Will Leitch and Miklasz. It’s available on your preferred podcast platform. Or follow @seeingredpod on Twitter for a direct link.

All stats used in my baseball columns are sourced from FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, Baseball Savant, Bill James Online and Baseball Prospectus.




Bernie Miklasz

Bernie Miklasz

For the last 35 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. 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.