The St. Louis Cardinals are used to heartbreak in the MLB Playoffs and that continued today in their game one loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Check out our recap and analysis.
St. Louis Cardinals Lose Game One
Temperatures are dropping and you can feel the magic in the air, it is time for MLB playoff baseball. This is the best time of the year, but boy was game one for the St. Louis Cardinals a rough one.
This article is actually pretty hard to write. I did not expect to be writing this tonight, especially after the first eight innings. The Cardinals lost game one of the best-of-three series to the Philadelphia Phillies 6-3. Let’s break down what went wrong and what went right.
Game One Recap
When the playoffs come, you expect a pitcher’s duel from your starters, and that was exactly what we got. Jose Quintana earned the game-one start after a tremendous September. Quintana threw 5.1 innings of no-run ball. He struck out three, walked one and only allowed two hits. The lefty was incredibly efficient throwing only 75 pitches, including a six-pitch inning.
Quintana did not overpower anybody, but he pitched phenomenally. He walked Bryson Stott in the top of the 3rd and allowed his first hit right after to Matt Vierling but got out of the inning. The former Pittsburgh Pirate allowed a leadoff double to Alec Bohm in the top of the 5th but stranded him heading to the bottom half of the inning.
Zach Wheeler continued his domination of the Cardinals this season. He has not allowed an earned run against St. Louis in over 20.0 innings this year. Lars Nootbaar had a leadoff single against him in the 1st, but that was about it.
The bottom of the 6th rolls around and the Cardinals have runners on first and second with nobody out. St. Louis has their 3, 4, 5 due up and we do not score. That is going to bite us later on.
After a gem from Wheeler, Jose Alvarado comes in to relieve him, who has been among the few quality pitchers in the Philadelphia bullpen. With Corey Dickerson due up and Dylan Carlson standing on first, Oli Marmol makes the great decision to pinch-hit Juan Yepez. After seven innings on the bench, Yepez wasted no time and send a bomb over the left field wall to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead. The game felt over at this point.
Jordan Hicks came in to pitch after Quintana to get two outs. Hicks did his job and Giovanny Gallegos pitched a good 1.1 innings. He had more in the tank but was taken out after a walk. Marmol called on the All-Star closer Ryan Helsley to get the five-out save.
Helsley ended the top of the 8th with two quick outs and all looked well, but now, close your eyes.
Rhys Hoskins steps up to the plate down two runs in the top of the 9th and he strikes out swinging. The Phillies are down to their final two outs. A single, two walks and then a hit by a pitch to score a run ended the afternoon for Helsey as the score moved to 2-1 with one out. Andre Pallante entered the game.
The rookie was put into a very tough situation. Pallante was put in over Jack Flaherty who was also warm in the pen because he is known for producing ground balls. The irony here is that he did just that, but it did not work out. A ground ball squeaked by the diving glove of Tommy Edman at second which scored two runs giving Philadelphia the lead.
Right after that, another ground ball was hit to the right side where Paul Goldschmidt threw home, but it was not in time. The lead moved to 4-2. Another groundball later was hit to the Gold Glover Nolan Arenado who made an error leading to another run. Finally, a sacrifice fly was hit giving us our second out. Hoskins steps up back to the plate and ends the inning how he started it, with a strikeout. The score is now 6-2 heading into the top of the 9th.
St. Louis put a run on the board in the 9th thanks to a Nolan Gorman pinch-hit single. Yadier Molina stepped up to bat as the tying run with two outs. He struck out swinging. Just like that, we blew the most important game of 2022.
It truly feels like yesterday I was in my room not speaking to anybody after Mike Shildt made some bad decisions in a Wild Card game. One year later, here we are again.
Why not let Quintana finish out the inning? His pitch count was low and he was cooking out there. That is our game-one starter and he should be treated as so.
Why take out Gallegos after allowing a walk? He only threw 19 pitches and allowed no hits. It does not make sense to replace him with Ryan Helsley who was making his first outing since jamming his finger. I am all for bringing in Helsley for the traditional save, but five outs in this situation was not okay.
Was Marmol going to pitch Helsley back-to-back nights after getting five outs had we won? Did he even have any plans moving forward for game two? If I am going to critique every move, I do not think Helsley should have been kept in the game after allowing back-to-back walks to load the bases. Three free bases in a row were given from our All-Star, who got an MRI on his finger after the game.
Pallante comes in to produce groundballs in hopes of a double play, but the infield was playing in. Edman had no time to field that one, but if he was in his normal position, this game would have looked a lot different. The infield should not have been playing in.
Even if Yepez did not hit the homer there, I love the decision to bat for Dickerson there, who I do not believe should be a playoff starter. A Nolan Arenado “what if” thanks to the wind, a blown opportunity with no outs and two on and some very poor decisions from our young skipper lost us this game. It is not over Cardinals fans, let’s bounce back tomorrow and do things the hard way.
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