It seems that everything has gone wrong at once for the Cardinals.
The team with the highest scoring offense in the National League can't score runs against inexperienced hurlers or the most mediocre of journeymen starters. Their highly paid pitchers can't get anyone out and the defense, well, it just wasn't very good to begin with.
The result is the Birds were swept 9-4 Wednesday by a sad sack Dodgers team that is bringing up the rear of the National League West.
Lefty Jaime Garcia, who has gone from a 7-1 record and an ERA amongst the league leaders, had a 1-0 lead going into the third. But he completely melted down with a pair of walks and a wild pitch followed by six consecutive hits to push LA to a 6-1 lead before an out was recorded in the inning. He left the game after five innings with seven earned runs allowed on nine hits and two walks. Since signing a contract extension with the Birds, Garcia is 1-4 with an ERA over 5.00.
It can't help that pitching coach Dave Duncan is away from the team tending to his ill wife. But that's no excuse for a good pitcher to completely lose his sense of direction. And, frankly, I am tired of all the excuses. Last season it was the injuries to the starters. This year it was the bad defense up the middle and the bullpen. But after replacing the shortstop and centerfielder and getting back the starting third baseman from injury plus completely revamping the relief corps the Redbirds have only played worse.
At some point someone is going to have to show a little bit of spine and stop the bleeding. It is disgusting how this team of veterans has folded after falling off the pace of the red hot Brewers. Just because Milwaukee is playing well isn't an excuse for the Birds to fall apart.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Skip Schumaker was 4-for-4 a day after making his major league debut as a pitcher in mop up duty.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Gerald Laird's first Cardinals homer.
Lowlight: Garcia's six-run inning.