Hello. Good morning. How ya doing? Don’t forget the Diamondbacks and Cardinals will close their three-game series Wednesday with an early 12:15 p.m start.

After falling behind 8-3 on Tuesday, the Cardinals put up a fight to generate some late–game fun and excitement. Ultimately, their comeback came up short in the red zone and ended with an 8-7 loss to the D-backs. The Cardinals will try to avoid a three-game series sweep today at Busch Stadium.


1. “Everyone’s very positive and feels that we’re going to play better and find a way to start winning some games,” Paul Goldscmidt told The Athletic. “And all that is good; those feelings are good. But the results are going to tell the story. This is a very fair game. The scoreboard doesn’t lie, especially over the long run, and we have the opportunity to go win a lot of games.”

2. And this, from the late and legendary baseball philosopher Yogi Berra: “It’s getting late early.”

THE LEDE: Another bad night for a St. Louis starting pitcher. Another loss. Another lost series. A homefield disadvantage at Busch Stadium. A growing deficit in the standings. The team’s first 7-11 start since 1997. The 12th-best winning percentage (.389) among the 15 National League delegations.

There’s no mystery here. When (A) the front-office fails to build a stronger overall team and ignores vulnerabilities, (B) the starting-pitching routinely fails, and (C) your hitters are driving in runners at a poor rate of 25 percent, you won’t win a lot of games.

In that context, is this slow start a surprise?

No, it isn’t.

And if the Cardinals can get above-average starting pitching and more big hits when presented with many opportunities to drive in runs, the team will improve and the season outlook will brighten. And perhaps the front office will snap to it and contribute to a turnarpound.

Apr 17, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras (40) reacts after hitting a one run double against the Arizona Diamondbacks sixth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports


STAR OF THE GAME: We are, pleased to offer a tip of the ballcap cap to hot-hitting, hard-hitting catcher Willson Contreras. He smoked two home runs Tuesday. After a slow start offensively, the newcomer is hushing the online trolls and gargoyles.

STARTING-PITCHING UPDATE: It was an unpleasant evening for lefty Jordan Montgomery, who was strafed for 10 hits and seven earned runs in four innings. In less than two hours, Montgomery’s season ERA jumped from 2.45 to 4.84.

For the season St. Louis starters have been smacked for a 5.51 ERA that ranks 23rd overall and 13th in the NL. STL’s average Game Score for starting pitching (44) ranks 27th in MLB.

HAUNTED HOME: The Cardinals have lost seven of their last nine home games and are 4-8 at Busch Stadium for the season. This franchise hasn’t opened a season with a 4-8 record after 12 home games since 1980. And before that it happened in 1930, 1912, and 1906. The 1914 and 1901 Cardinals went 4-7-1 in their first 12 home games.

GIMME SHELTER: Starting pitching is an obvious factor in the team’s 4-8 record at Busch Stadium. The starters have a home ERA of 5.81 and have been thumped for nine home runs, 18 doubles, and a .510 slugging percentage. Busch Stadium opened in 2006. Going into 2023 the Cards’ worst starting-pitching home ERA in a season was 4.48 in 2007. The highest slugging percentage against the starters was .443, also in 2007.

St. Louis starting pitchers have been protected by the pitching-friendly environs at Busch Stadium through the years. But not this season … not yet, anyway. As a point of reference: from 2006 through 2022, STL starting pitchers had a 3.44 ERA and allowed a low .379 slugging percentage.

CONTRERAS!!! Contreras is settling into his new home. Batting fourth in the lineup, the catcher did his best to propel the Cardinals to a comeback by homering twice and driving in three runs during the final three innings Tuesday.

In his last five games Contreras has batted .389 with a .421 onbase percentage and .889 slug. It took a little time, but Contreras has pulled himself above water offensively; his season OPS+ is 106. That figure will continue to rise.

Among Cardinals that have at least 10 plate appearances this season when hitting with runners in scoring position, Contreras leads the team in batting average (.375), onbase percentage (.474), slugging (.625) and OPS (.625.)

CHECKING ON DYLAN CARLSON: The outfielder had a double against a right-handed pitcher Tuesday. But he’s off to a disappointing start to 2023, batting .212 with a 54 OPS+ that puts him 46 percent below league average offensively. Since his three-hit game against the Blue Jays on April 2, Carlson is 4 for 29 (.138) with a .426 OPS and 25% strikeout rate.

Carlson is still having trouble against right-handed pitching. He’s 5 for 26 (.192) against them this season with little power and a low onbase percentage. In 524 plate appearances vs. righties since the start of 2022, Carlson is hitting .206 with a .291 OBP and .333 slug. Not good.

With a runner on base the Cardinals had a chance to tie the Diamondbacks in the ninth inning Tuesday, but Carlson grounded out to end the game. Sigh.

Is there a reason to believe we’ll see dramatic improvement from Carlson against RH pitching? If this continues, Carlson probably will be relegated to starting against left-handed starting pitchers, coming off the bench to pinch-hit vs. lefties, and enter games as a late-inning defensive upgrade in center field.

A hitting revival by Carlson would really help this team and give manager Oli Marmol more flexibility in making outfield-lineup choices. But Carlson’s low-impact bat against right-handed pitching limits the manager’s viable options. And the situation will be even more problematic if rookie Jordan Walker remains stuck in his current slump.

That said, Carlson certainly is capable of doing some damage against Arizona lefty Madison Bumgarner today. Carlson has a career .317 average, .377 onbase percentage and .487 slug against LH pitching.Right-handed batters are putting up big numbers against Bumgarner.

GOING UP: Outfielder Tyler O’Neill had two hits, two walks and two runs scored in Tuesday’s game. In his last 10 games the Bro is batting .313 with a .371 OBP and .469 slug. But O’Neill has hit only one homer during the last 10 games, and needs to do it more often.

DOWN A LITTLE, BUT NO MORE: Shortstop Tommy Edman had the game-winning single Sunday to beat the Pirates in 10 innings. But he’s only 3 for 20 (.150) in his last six games with five strikeouts and one walk. Edman is batting .241 overall this season. But the switch-hitter is 7 for 48 (.146) with a .268 onbase percentage against right-handed pitching. Via Fielding Bible, Tommy has saved two runs defensively so far – which ranks sixth among MLB shortstops. Update: Edman is having a huge game Wednesday. As I type this he has a double, triple, homer, five RBI and three runs scored. Edman is a much stronger hitter from the right side, and enjoyed a beneficial matchup against Bumgarner.

RISP REVISITED: The Cards went 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position during Tuesday’s loss. For the season the Cardinals rank 19th in batting average (.243) and are 24th in slugging (.357) with RISP.

RUN PREVENTION: Last season the Cardinals ranked 9th in the majors with an average of 3.93 runs allowed per game. So far this season the Cardinals are 19th in run prevention, giving up 4.89 runs per game. That’s a significant decline in a key area, but at least the Redbirds have 144 games left to do something about it.

STARTING-PITCHING UPDATE: Tuesday was an unpleasant evening for lefty Jordan Montgomery, who was strafed for 10 hits and seven earned runs in four innings. And just like that, Montgomery’s season ERA jumped from 2.45 to 4.84. For the season St. Louis starting pitching has a 5.51 ERA that ranks 23rd overall and 13th in the National League. STL’s average Game Score for starting pitching – 44 – ranks 27th in MLB.


1. Chris Stratton, JoJoe Romero and Jordan Hicks did a good job Tuesday after Montgomery’s short start. The three relievers worked five innings and were grazed for just one run.

2. The Cardinals are 5-10 this season in games against teams that have a winning record.

3. The Cardinals lost more ground to the Brewers on Tuesday and trail the first-place Crew by six games. I don’t care that it’s early; the Cardinals continue to sink into a widened, deeper hole. In 2022, the Cardinals never trailed the Brewers by more than 4 and ½ games.

4. In six games for Triple A Memphis, Paul DeJong is batting .280 with a double, homer, seven RBI and a .440 slugging percentage. But he’s also struck out in 33.3 percent of his plate appearances.

5. The Cardinals are off to a solid start defensively, ranking sixth in the majors with seven defensive runs saved. The Cards would rank higher, but Jordan Walker is minus four in defensive runs saved in right field.

6. The No. 8 and No. 9 lineup spots for Wednesday’s game will be occupied by second baseman Taylor Motter and catcher Andrew Knizner. They’re a combined 4 for 28 this season (.143) with a 38.7% strikeout rate.

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.

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All stats used in my baseball columns were sourced from FanGraphs, Baseball Reference, Statcast, 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.