On another downcast day for baseball in the city of St. Louis, the defective Cardinals found multiple ways to lose a 6-5 game to the White Sox in 10 innings. A three-hour rain delay just prolonged the torment. The perpetually bizarre home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor brought this wet and woeful day to a merciful end with a called third strike that wasn’t a strike. But this is who he is, and this is what he does.

What was Bucknor thinking? First of all, I’m impressed that you believe he’s actually capable of thinking. But if the dear umpire was thinking about anything,

I imagine it would be something like this …

The rain delay lasted three hours, and I’m tired of this, and these two teams stink so bad I don’t want the risk of this goddang debacle going 18 innings. Looked like a strike to me. Yep. Perfect strike. Now let’s get the hell out of here.

Rob Manfred ain’t gonna do a thing. Major-league baseball doesn’t police umpires.  Anything goes. It is impossible to fire me, so what do I have to worry about? Like I said – that’s strike three if I say it’s strike three. Let’s go have some dinner.

C.B. Bucknor did not lose the game for the Cardinals.

The Cardinals require no such assistance from outside parties; failure is what they do best. Since the start of last season their winning percentage of .441 ranks 25th overall and 14th among the 15 NL teams.

If you have to rely on C.B to save your team from a humiliating defeat, that’s your fault. Get a damn base hit at a big spot in the eighth, the ninth or the 10th inning. Gentlemen, if you do that  you don’t have to worry about Mr. Bucknor’s irreparable incompetence.

And who are the Cardinals to complain? They take terrible at-bats that often leave us wondering “what are they looking at? Why are they standing there? Do they know the strike zone?”

Just like Bucknor screwing up ball-strike calls, the Cardinals do the same things over and over again, and seem to play the same game over and over again. It’s an endless loop of replays that’s infuriating their fans — and yet some of us still think they will change and improve.

You see, the Cardinals cannot get mad at C.B. Bucknor.

That’s because the Cardinals are C.B. Bucknor.


The Cardinals are going with a so-called “bullpen” game Sunday, with Matthew Liberatore getting the start. And their three best relievers may not be available to pitch should the Cardinals have a slim lead later in the game.

What’s at stake here?

Pride? Self respect? Dignity?

The White Sox are 7-26. They’ve scored the fewest runs per game (2.88) in the majors. They’ve allowed the most runs per game (5.48) by an American League team. The South Siders are minus 27 in defensive runs saved, the worst in MLB.

Before Saturday’s glorious triumph, the CWS had a 1-14 on the road this season and had gotten outscored 87-36 while absorbing those beatings.

Coming into Sunday’s deciding game, the White have failed to win any of their four road series so far. But with a win at Busch Stadium today, the CWS would break that streak. And such an event would put more shame on the Cardinals, and give their fans another reason to find other purposes for their money, their passion, their time.

You might want to win this one, home-team men.

By the way: through Saturday the Cardinals are 5-8 at home. The Cards are 3-2 against the Marlins (9-26) and 1-1 against the White Sox (7-26). And the Redbirds are 2-6 at home against the Phillies, Brewers and Diamondbacks.


1. Where did everybody go? In first two games vs. White Sox, Contreras, Arenado and Siani were a combined 10 for 18 (.555) with six walks, four extra-base hits and a 1.556 OPS.

In the first two games the other Cardinals went 1 for 51 (.020) with a .146 OPS. Brendan Donovan had the only hit, a two-run double. Good grief. How is that even possible?

2. Lance Lynn fails: He turned in a discouraging start against the White Sox, putting the Cardinals in a 2-0 hole after the inning and a 3-0 deficit after four. The Cardinals’ hitters regained consciousness in the fifth, perforating the White Sox for five runs to seize a 5-3 lead. And then Lynn went back out there for the top of the six and promptly walked two batters – both of whom would come around to score for a 5-5 tie. Lynn lasted five innings, getting pushed around for four earned runs, four hits and three walks.

That isn’t good enough. Lynn has failed to pitch more than five innings in six of his seven starts this season. And while his 3.28 ERA for the season looks fine, the underlying statistics give him a 4.55 fielding independent ERA. Lynn walked three yesterday; his season walk rate has ballooned to 10 percent. Lynn’s strikeout rate, which collapsed to 17.2 percent last season, has ticked up to 21% this year, which is slightly below league average.The Cardinals have 12 quality starts this season; only one belongs to Lynn. Sonny Gray (4), Kyle Gibson (4) and Miles Mikolas (3) own the other 11 quality starts.

3. Too many empty innings. The Cardinals scored all five of their runs in the fifth, getting that done on a two-run double by Brendan Donovan and a three-run home run by Nolan Arenado. But the Cardinals failed to score in every other inning of Saturday’s game, putting up one hit (a single) in 25 at-bats. They did have five walks in the non-fifth innings – but also struck out five times and went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. Just awful.

4. Horrendous at-bats. Missed opportunities. The Cardinals turned really small over the final three innings. And I ain’t talking about small ball:

8th inning, score tied 5-5: runner on second, no outs. Alec Burleson ground-ball out, Lars Nootbaar ground-ball out, Masyn Winn, ground-ball out.

9th inning, 5-5 score: two outs, runner on second. Paul Goldschmidt, ground-ball out. Ground-hog day hitting.

10th inning, trailing 6-5: bases loaded, no one out. Nootbaar strikeout, Winn strikeout, Herrera strikeout. In mild defense of Herrera, he inherited a two-strike from Nolan Gorman after the White Sox went to a lefty reliever following the three-hour rain delay. But that doesn’t excuse the way this all went down.

The Cardinals had many chances to tie the game or take the lead and fell apart under pressure with four ground-ball outs and three strikeouts in run-scoring opportunities over the final two-plus innings.

5. Too many slumpers: Not that this is anything new. With the 2024 Cardinals, this is the story of the year so far. Which is why they rank last in the NL in homers (22) and runs per game (3.55) … and are just about at the bottom in batting average, OBP and slugging,

– Lars Nootbaar is 3 for 33 with 10 strikeouts over his last eight games and is batting .162 with a .262 OBP and .272 slug since returning on April 12. Yeah, he’s hitting the ball very hard and all of that. I read Statcast, too. But at some point this has to be about the results, and Nootbaar is failing. Nootbaar is 3 for 15 with runners in scoring position since returning. That includes 1 for 8 with RISP in his last seven games.

– Masyn Winn: since his most recent two-hit game (April 15), the rookie shortstop has gone 7 for 45 (.156) with a 24 percent strikeout rate and a .200 slug. And despite walking nine times during this stretch Winn’s OBP is .291 since April 16. Uh-oh.

– Paul Goldschmidt in his last three games: 0 for 11 with five strikeouts. It seemed like Goldy was putting it together, but …

– Alec Burleson: It looked like he had figured some things out … and poof. After a nice power-hitting outburst, Burleson is 1 for 12 in his last three games. And he’s come up blank in big spots, going 0 for 6 with RISP over the last three.

I would write about Nolan Gorman’s bad habit of letting too many “meatball” pitches go by him. But that would make me hungry, and there’s not much in the refrigerator for me to attack.


1. Nolan Arenado: He reached base five times in Saturday’s loss, with three hits and two walks. His three-run homer in the fifth lifted the Cardinals to a 5-3 lead. In his last 20 games Arenado is batting .323 with a robust .424 OBP and .486 slug. The stretch includes 11 walks, five doubles, two homers and a team-leading 14 RBIs.

2. Willson Contreras: he didn’t get a hit Saturday but drew three walks to give his team chances to score runs. This season Contreras is tied for second among MLB catchers with 1.3 WAR. And in his 77 plate appearances as a catcher, Contreras is batting .286 with a .416 OBP and .571 slug. And as a catcher he has a 181 wRC+ that’s 81 percent above league average offensively.

3. Michael Siani: the graceful outfielder extended his hitting streak to four games. And he’s 5 for 10 during the last four.

4. The news that Dylan Carlson is returning. Carlson is set to bat fifth in Sunday’s lineup. I don’t know what Carlson will do now that he’s back … but the Cardinals need him to show he’s ready to restart his disappointing career and do it with a bang. After homering 18 times, slugging .437 and posting a 115 OPS+ (15% above average) in 2021, Carlson has hit .230 with five homers and a .364 slug over the past two seasons. He was eight percent below league average offensively with a 92 OPS+ in 2022-2023.

5. Could be worse: The Cardinals (15-18) are 1 and ½ games out in the NL’s third wild-card spot. And as bad as it’s been, the Redbirds are just one game behind the third-place Reds in the NL Central. Look, I’m scrounging here. Give me a break. It’s Sunday and we should all be nice to each other.


On Saturday the A’s, Rangers, Phillies, Padres and Dodgers had big days and combined for 73 runs scored. That’s 62.3 percent of the Cardinals’ total runs scored (117) on the season.

Thanks for reading and please have a peaceful and happy Sunday.


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.