Another gut-punching loss for the Cardinals

Where will the St. Louis Cardinals stand in two weeks?

The St. Louis Cardinals suffered another gut-punching loss on Wednesday night, this time at the hands of the Miami Marlins. Read below about the tough loss and the games coming up.

Image

The St. Louis Cardinals were on their way to a sweep over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday with two outs in the ninth inning, up 3-2. Avisail Garcia had other plans, unfortunately. The Marlins shortstop blasted a first-pitch fastball over the centerfield wall to give Miami the 4-3 lead and the win.

Many times as a Cardinals fan, you feel as if you are waiting for the other foot to fall in key situations. On Wednesday night, that other foot fell with Ryan Helsley blowing the save. When the Bally Sports Midwest telecast showed that Garcia was 1-2 with a home run against Helsley in his career, my immediate thought was, ‘well here goes another one.’

As if losing a five-run lead to the Chicago Cubs was not bad enough, two outs away from a sweep is another tough pill to swallow.

St. Louis attempted to make a rally in the ninth inning with Lars Nootbaar reaching base, as well as Conner Capel. Sandy Alcantara was still pitching and convinced manager Don Mattingly to keep him in. Alcantara was able to get Edmundo Sosa to bounce into a double play to end the game.

Oh, what could have been for Alcantara and his future in St. Louis. Would he be the stud he is today or would he have ended up like Jack Flaherty? The Marlins have done a great job of developing him into the pitcher he is today.

On the road again

The next 14 games for the Cardinals are against teams with a .500 record or better.

The Cardinals have an off day today as they head to Philadelphia to take on the Philadelphia Phillies. Since firing Joe Girardi as their manager, the Phillies have turned their season around and could be in the mix for a playoff spot.

Miles Mikolas will make the start for the Cardinals on Friday night in Philadelphia. Mikolas has pitched well in his last few outings but has not received the run support to get the win. Mikolas was headed towards his sixth win in his last outing against the Chicago Cubs but Giovanny Gallegos allowed Chicago to tie the game, giving Mikolas the no-decision.

Miles Mikolas barely misses Cardinals' first no-hitter since 2001

Matthew Liberatore has been recalled to the big league roster and will make a start on Saturday. Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said this would be more than a spot start for Liberatore.

After a three-game series with the Phillies, the team will travel south to take on the Atlanta Braves. The Braves are ending a record month of June with 21 wins currently. They face Philadelphia tonight to claim the franchise record for wins in June.

After traveling for seven games on the road, St. Louis returns home to host the Phillies for four games. That series will conclude on Monday where the Cardinals turn around to host the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers. The team will have one series left before the All-Star break with the Cincinnati Reds coming to town.

Putting hay in the barn

The Cardinals will have a chance to make or possibly break their season in the next two weeks. They currently trail the Milwaukee Brewers by 1.5 games and have arguably their toughest stretch of baseball coming up.

The Cardinals will not see Bryce Harper in either series with the Phillies after he broke his thumb as a result of a hit by pitch. Harper will likely be out for the All-Star Game and some time after the break. Ronald Acuna Jr. is listed as day-to-day and he may not be playing for the Braves when the Cardinals visit town either.

I believe that we will truly see what type of team St. Louis is by the end of this trip. We may also see what areas need to be targeted heading to the trade deadline.