Another rough outing for Rzepczynski. (AP photo)
On May 9th, the Cardinals were on top of the division with a 20-11 record, 9 games over .500.
Since then, they’ve gone 7-13, are now only 3 games over .500, and sit a game and a half back of Cincinnati.
What the heck happened?
Injuries haven’t helped, but as I’ve mentioned previously, the pitching, and particularly relief pitching, has let them down. Over the course of the month, the pitching staff had an ERA of (deep breath) 4.72. In the 13 losses, 7 have come when the bullpen couldn’t hold or close the game. Last night in Atlanta the Cardinals rallied in the top of the 6th to tie the game at 5 all, but reliever Marc Rzepczynski gave up 3 runs, and Jason Motte 3 more, to ice it for the Braves.
The offense kept this from going completely off a cliff. They led the league with 157 runs for the month and a big .816 on-base-plus-slugging average.
To New York for a weekend series against the Mets, who are riding a 6-4 winning streak.
Speaking of the Mets, Post-Dispatch writer Derrick Goold has an interesting little “what if?” piece, recounting the curve young closer Adam Wainwright threw to Carlos Beltran, then of the Mets, now lighting it up for the Cardinals, that froze him with bases loaded and 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. What if, Goold asks, Beltran had connected?