Every team is going to go through some doldrums over the course of a 162-game Major League Baseball season.
But the Cardinals suddenly have a lack of focus that is disturbing.
It sure seemed Wednesday that the Redbirds players, who scored two runs on the first two pitches of the game and then got the third man on base before a double play killed the inning, seemed that they thought the game was going to be a laugher and took their foot off the gas.
They never seriously threatened again besides the sixth inning when Matt Holliday hit a one-out double and then stole third base. A sacrifice fly from David Freese would have tied the game. Instead Freese struck out for the third time of the evening and the Cardinals went quietly.
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Lance Lynn started the game for St. Louis and pitched 6 2/3 innings of fantastic baseball. But it was the one lousy inning that posed a problem.
Lynn allowed four runs in the fourth inning including walking two runs.
Bottom line: The Wednesday game was one the Cardinals certainly should have been able to win. And the price for sleepwalking against one of the weakest teams in baseball is that the Birds allowed themselves to be caught in the standings by the Pirates.
And now they have to go play a red hot team during their third West Coast visit of the season. It's time to get the ship righted quickly.