Oliver Marmol wanted a bagel on Saturday morning. This is New York, so it should have been easy to get. But this is also him in 2023, with Marmol as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. Nothing is easy.
“It didn’t work,” Marmol said. “The line was outrageous. The doorman at the hotel told me to skip the line and come in. I thought about it, maybe that’s the problem. I saw the line, but it was I didn’t think it was a play.”
Marmol said he could have provoked another customer into a fight. He didn’t get a black eye, but he didn’t get a bagel either. The satisfaction that was lacking in the season that deviated from the side road increased.
The afternoon was a boom for Marmol, as the Cardinals snapped a six-game losing streak in the batting lineup. 5-3 win A game against the Mets at Citi Field. But it was just the Cardinals’ third win in June, and their 28-43 record was their worst in 71 games since 1978.
It was the second-worst record in the National League, better points than the Washington Nationals, and a dizzying drop for the Tiffany brand. The Cardinals are second only to the Yankees with 11 titles overall, but they have only lost one season in the century, in 2007, and have made the playoffs in each of the last four years.
“You saw where we’re at now and you were like, ‘Wow?'” star third baseman Nolan Arenado said. “We understand what’s going on because no Cardinal team has lost so badly in the last 70 years. All these things we hear are We know and we’re trying to find a way out of it but it’s certainly tough right now and I think the more we think about the past and all that it’s hurting us .”
He has also rejected the Cardinals in the past. On Saturday, the team announced that David Freese, who was voted into the team’s Hall of Fame by fan vote, has turned down the honor. Freese, who was named the Cardinals’ Most Valuable Player in 2011 when they won the World Series, said he appreciates the vote but doesn’t deserve to wear the vaunted red jacket.
Adam Wainwright, the last active Cardinals player of that era (18-year veteran who was injured in 2011), made his longest start of the season on Saturday, pitching six and three innings for his 198th win of his career. mentioned.
Wainwright, as always, had a sharp, spinning curveball that always brought back memories of the good old days, even for Cardinals fans, not Mets fans. He hopes more will follow.
“Usually chemistry wins, but it couldn’t have been better with them here,” Wainwright said. “I had a great dinner the other day, had a great meeting, and got some great messages. And sometimes it’s hard to get out of there.”
Wainwright, 41, will retire after this season, a year after two other Cardinals winners, Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols, parted ways. Molina’s absence seemed particularly troubling for the Cardinals, who signed three-time All-Star catcher Wilson Contreras to a five-year, $87.5 million contract, but was removed from the starting lineup in early May. was only
The move seemed hasty, as if the team were blaming the new arrivals for their poor start. Contreras turned designated hitter and occasionally caught fly balls in the outfield, but he never played there. He returned to the regular catcher for the first time in 10 games.
Still, Contreras was one of several underperforming hitters. 198 on Thursday, he received encouragement from a coach named former All-Star catcher and former slugger Victor Martinez, also from Venezuela. Mr. Martinez called Mr. Contreras and offered to help.
“He’s like my second father,” Contreras said. “Everything he says, I listen to everything. If you have any doubts or questions, call him anytime and he will answer the call. We text each other almost every week. But it was bigger. I needed someone to talk to.”
Contreras, who missed the World Baseball Classic in March to learn a new pitching staff, continues his leadership efforts. In Friday’s game, he met reliever Genesis Cabrera on the mound to try to boost Cabrera’s confidence while the pitcher gave a warm-up toss to the backup pitcher. He did the same with the relievers on Saturday.
“When I sit at my desk and think about how we get out of this nonsense, we end up with certain pieces that get to the point where we start doing what we think they can do,” Marmol said. said Mr. “And yesterday, Wilson was one of them.”
At 36, the youngest manager in baseball, Marmol said Friday he met with nine players one-on-one to encourage them to let go of negative thoughts and “help them understand what they are capable of.” rice field. These lessons may not take hold immediately, but they must be taught, he added.
In the short term, Marmol’s bigger concern is the team’s defensive underperformance. Injuries to outfielders Lars Nootvaal and Tyler O’Neill forced St. Louis to place Gold Glove second baseman Tommy Edman at center, but that left other players out of position and allowed him to strike out. Lack of staff was a pain.
“If you have one of the best defenders in the outfield who should be playing second, it affects a lot of other things, including our pitching,” Marmol said. “It’s the real thing. That part is tough because it works with the pitching staff who stay at bat. There’s a lot of balls to play, and that’s even bigger.”
By Friday, the Cardinals’ outfielders ranked last in ability to turn flies into outs, according to Sports Info Solutions, and ranked the Cardinals 27th in overall defensive strength, with Kansas City, Oakland, and New York City ranked 27th in overall defense. It surpasses only Washington. Thus, the Cardinals allowed 9.6 hits per nine innings, level with the Athletics and the Colorado Rockies.
It’s jarring to see a perpetual championship favorite on the list of rebuilding teams. That’s where the Cardinals stand, but at least they can find comfort in the standings. The Milwaukee Brewers, who lead the NL Central, hit just over .500 in just two games by Saturday.
“We’ve dug our own holes, but no one escapes from this sector,” Arenado said. “That means we still have a chance to shock some people. I think that’s what keeps us motivated.”
A Cardinals division title wouldn’t have been such a shock in spring training. Now St. Louis is in the unusual position of an underdog. They happily accept their new identities.
“Of course,” said Arenado. “I think that’s the only way to think about the season, don’t you think? There’s still an opportunity there. It’s just a matter of whether we accept it.”