The Cardinals offense showed some of its potential Thursday night in Anaheim with the three Matts -- Adams, Carpenter and Holliday -- all having a big night.
But the flaws of this team glared through the glitter with demoralizing performances from start to finish from the pitching staff and some really unfortunate poor defense.
Ace Adam Wainwright, who after his previous start claimed that he’d figured out the flaws that kept him from pitching up to his high standards, apparently needs to keep figuring.
Wainwright was pounded for 11 hits and seven runs as he struggled to make it through five frames. Six of the runs were earned, although two were counted as earned after they scored with two outs when centerfield Randal Grichuk and left fielder Jeremy Hazelbaker allowed a fly ball to land between them in the third.
Up to that point, Wainwright had been pitching pretty well and the game was tied at zero. After the gaffe, Wainwright’s demeanor changed and he seemed to become impatient and angry, firing the ball back at catcher Yadier Molina almost as soon as he received it.
Wainwright had a chance to settle down when the Redbirds scored three times in the top of the forth to put him ahead. But he gave it all back in the bottom of the inning. When the Birds scored five in the top of the fifth, he gave up two more in the bottom of it before finally getting through the inning.
As has been the case for the first six weeks of the season, Wainwright looks okay for a while. But he can’t maintain in through a whole game.
He wasn’t the only Cardinals pitcher who had trouble Thursday night.
Seth Maness gave up three runs while recording one out, serving up Albert Pujols’ only career home run against his former team.
Closer Trevor Rosenthal was completely discombobulated, walking the only three batters he faced on 14 pitches. Kevin Siegrist finally nailed down the save with the tying run in scoring position.
The bright side is that Carpenter was 2-for-5 with three batted in, two runs scored and a walk. He raised his season average to .264.
Holliday homered twice in a 4-for-5 night to raise his average to .267.
Adams, who was having a hard time just getting on the field, raised his average to .286 with his 3-for-6 night.
Yadier Molina, who hasn’t had much trouble at the plate this season, was 3-for-6 to raise his season average to .336 while fellow offensive leader Aledmys Diaz was 2-for-5 and is hitting .383 on the season.
The offensive outburst was a rare occurrence this season for the Cardinals. But it’s going to have to become routine if this team is going to win while allowing 10 runs a game.