Another day, another loss — but also another year, another August slump.
The Cardinals 6-5 loss to the Cubs last night was absolutely disappointing. On the plus side, Matt Holliday continued his hot hitting with a three-run homer that gave the Cards a fourth inning lead and a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth to put them within one. Matt Carpenter, Carlos Beltran and Rob Johnson (yes!) also had two hits each, and David Freese had one.
Yet our old friend the GIDP showed up yet again — twice. Thank you, Mr. Freese and Daniel Descalso. Ugh.
And then there was the pitching. Michael Wacha was decent in his return to the majors, going five innings and allowing two earned runs on five hits. He struck out four but walked three and allowed a home run to Wellington Castillo. He did lower his ERA from 4.58 to 4.37 yet — just like Carlos Martinez on Thursday — threw a lot of pitches in a short amount of time.
Seth Maness and Kevin Siegrist pitched scoreless sixth and seventh innings respectively, and caused Cubs TV announcers Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies to wonder just where the Cardinals get this endless supply of young and effective relievers. In the eighth, the two also were amazed by Trevor Rosenthal and his continual 100 mph fastballs — likening him at one point to Aroldis Chapman.
Yet Rosenthal, entering with a 4-2 lead, began by uncharacteristically walking the first two batters he faced. Speaking of Aroldis Chapman, while at Great American Ballpark last week, I saw the graphic they flash on the scoreboard when the opposing pitcher walks a Reds batter — a ghost that floats around while the words “walks will haunt” appear on the screen.
And those walks by Trevor absolutely haunted.
Because despite the fact he then struck out Starlin Castro and Cody Ransom, up came Darwin Barney — and out to right center went the ball for a two-run game-tying double. Then Dioner Navarro had a pinch-hit double to score Barney.
Ouch. To say the least.
And the additional run each added by the Cubs and the Cards in the ninth mattered not at all.
So, back to the first sentence above — about those August slumps. Thanks to the magic of the Timehop app, daily I can see what I tweeted about or posted on Facebook one, two, three, four years ago on that very day. And the last couple of days, tweets to posts from past years have a sort of deja vu feel to them.
Like this one from last year on Aug. 10.
Or this from Aug. 9, 2011. And check out the chart with that for past August and September performances.
We’ve been through this before.
For whatever reason, the Cardinals traditionally don’t do well at this time of year. Now, we also know that the Cardinals made the postseason in both 2012 and 2011 — so there’s no need to panic right now either.
But it would be nice to see a game where everything works, wouldn’t it?
Luckily, the last time there was a game like that was when the guy who’s pitching today last took the mound — Joe Kelly on Tuesday. He’s become the stopper, and once again he’s needed in that role.
The good thing about last night is that the Pirates and the Reds both lost too, so everything stays the same at the top of the Central. And we know the Cards have had success against old pal Edwin Jackson, who’s starting for the Cubs — he has a 6.75 ERA at Busch Stadium this season and 4.41 career ERA.
Trite or not, the Cards have to play them one game at a time — which means they can only turn things around one game at a time too. Today’s one game starts at 1:15 p.m.
Christine Coleman is the lead writer for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.