It seems that every time the Cardinals lose in demoralizing fashion–like they did Wednesday night to the Red Sox–we end up calling it “the worst loss of the season.” Hyperbole aside, every bad loss can’t be the worst loss of the season. So to try and set the record straight, we ranked a few of the rough ones that stand out for all the wrong reasons:
#5) July 16th: Pirates walk off for the second time in the series
The Cardinals had already experienced one brutal loss the first weekend back from the All Star break when the Pirates walked off on a Josh Bell 3-run homer, but that wasn’t enough for this group of masochists. After Yadier Molina homered to give the Cardinals a lead in the eighth inning of the rubber game of the series, the Cardinals bullpen fell apart. This was one of those games where Mike Matheny had the bright idea to use Brett Cecil as a closer (in fairness, there really wasn’t anybody else to trust).
After a Pirates hit parade, Adam Frazier delivered the death blow, and the Cardinals watched the Buccos celebrate once again.
MLB has blocked video embed, but you can click here to relive the ugly finish to that loss, which I recommend if you enjoy pain.
#4) Ump show aids Cardinals collapse vs. Red Sox
There’s no way around it: Chris Segal had a bad night Wednesday. A wonky strike zone had the Cardinals simmering with rage the whole night, and the emotion boiled over when Segal decided–because he needed a break–to call for time with John Brebbia in the middle of his delivery.
Mookie Betts eventually punched one off the Green Monster to score the tying and winning runs. They did so thanks to a bad relay by Pham, a bad throw home by DeJong, and a failed tag by Molina. It finalized a bad loss in a game the Cardinals had earlier led 4-0.
Another fun nugget in this game was Matt Carpenter’s mind-boggling base running blunder. It’s not that he forced the issue with aggressive base running–it was somehow worse than that. Carpenter was standing on third when Tommy Pham lined a single to center. Beyond all logic and reasoning, Carpenter was gunned down at the plate on the play.
Watch below, if you dare.
Just another day in Cardinals baseball.
#3: June 3rd: Schwarber slams the Cardinals at Wrigley
Mike Leake had held the Cubs down for six strong innings in front of a raucous Wrigley crowd, but as the seventh began to unravel, the Cardinals bullpen began to stir. The bases were loaded full of Cubs, but Leake was one out away from getting out of the jam and preserving the Cardinals 3-1 lead–and Matheny was going to roll with him for one more batter. All that stood in his way was a .163-hitting Kyle Schwarber.
What Schwarber did with the first pitch he saw put the Cubs on top for good, giving the NorthSiders another edge over the Cards in the NL Central race.
#2) May 20th: Martinez goes the distance–except he doesn’t
Entering his start against the Giants on this Saturday in May, Carlos Martinez had never thrown a complete game shutout. As the innings progressed, Carlos continued to keep San Fran off the board; it felt like something special might go down at Busch Stadium.
There was just one problem: the Cardinals hadn’t scored any runs, either. Martinez capped a brilliant outing with a scoreless ninth, setting himself up for the CGSO should the Birds walk it off in the bottom half. They were on track to do so when Matt Carpenter led off the inning by banging one off the left field wall.
That’s when Carpenter decided to push his luck. As the winning run in a scoreless game, he tried to stretch his double into a triple, and was infamously thrown out at third. Joe Davis said it best: it was a Cardinal sin.
The Cardinals eventually fell to the Giants, 3-1 in 13 innings, and a gift-wrapped victory somehow became a loss.
#1) July 20th: Rosenthal fails to cover first base, Mets walk off
Yet another example of the Cardinals brutality towards fundamentals over the last couple seasons. After Tommy Pham’s clutch eighth inning homer to put the Cards up 2-1, the bullpen faltered again. Still, with the game tied in the ninth, Trevor Rosenthal needed one more out to escape a jam and send the game to extras.
Fortunately for Rosey, he induced the ground ball he needed. Unfortunately for Rosey, he forgot to cover first base. Matt Carpenter made a fine play to corral the grounder, but when he spun and turned to throw out Jose Reyes at first, Rosenthal was nowhere to be found.
If any play is indicative of the recent decline of the Cardinal Way, it was this one. Another crushing walk off defeat.
You can view the memories of this one right here.
Any horrendous losses we missed on this list? Feel free to sound off below with your most painful memory from this tumultuous Cardinals season.