The St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday came within an eyelash of pulling out a third-consecutive dramatic win over the Chicago Cubs.
After trailing the entire game, the Redbirds had the tying run on third base with one out and the winning run at first base with red-hot slugger Mark Reynolds at the plate.
But Reynolds, who was 3-for-5 over his previous two games with five runs batted in, was unable to put the ball in play to drive home Peter Bourjos. Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro bobbled the ball with two outs in the bottom of the ninth but was able to recover and get te last out at Bourjos crossed the plate with what would have been the trying run. St. Louis lost 6-5.
Things must be going pretty well in the Cardinals universe when fans find no reason to sweat a loss to their rivals from up north.
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Sure, it’s disappointing to come so close only to lose. But I’ll take the effort. Especially when the home team has a healthy lead in the National League Central and a 20-7 record.
The Cardinals never gave up during the game when they could have allowed themselves to be satisfied by taking two of the first three contests against the Cubs and eight games in a row.
Bourjos has found himself lately, raising his batting average to .333 in spot duty. He did a great job of setting up the Cardinals to tie the game using his speed to go from first to third in the ninth inning on a ground out to second base from Jason Heyward.
While I’m happy with the effort of the team, I am becoming concerned about the state of the Cardinals pitching staff.
After three extra inning games in a row against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Birds have given up 19 runs in the first three games against Chicago. Not only has the overworked bullpen struggled. But the Cardinals, who had two poor starts over the first month of the season, have had to deal with rough outings from their starters the last three games.
Lance Lynn pitched six innings Wednesday, allowing eight hits and five earned runs. But he certainly deserves better than a 1-3 record for the way he’s pitched this year.
The Cardinals need veteran John Lester to pitch deep into their Thursday matinee with the Cubs to get the starting rotation back on track while giving the bullpen a chance to catch its breath.