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Buffa's 5 Takeaways: Bats freeze up in Gotham in 6-2 loss

The Cardinals may just have to settle for a 160-2 season. They look rusty and still can't get the big hit in a big spot.
Credit: Gregory Fisher
Mar 31, 2018; New York City, NY, USA; Mets first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (23) scores on Mets third baseman Todd Frazier (21) sacrifice fly during the 7th inning against the Cardinals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Attention, Greg Holland. You don't have to rush to St. Louis, pal. The Cardinals may have a lead for you to protect by the middle of April.

The finalization of the one-year contract with the former Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies closer served as the only piece of good news on a day where the Cardinals were bullied by Jacob deGrom and Todd Frazier in Gotham.

For the second day in a row, the Cardinals starting pitcher wasn't good enough to finish five innings or give his team a fighting chance. The defense was okay but far from great. The at-bats taken at the plate were as boring as a chicken-fried steak at Denny's, and the relief was standard issued for a stomach ache. The hitting with runners in scoring position was about as successful as a bull walking through a China shop.

I have a few things to say and here they are:

5) Wacha wasn't good. The curveball is still a work in progress, as evidenced by the ball that Yoenis Cespedes cranked into the stands on a hanger. The fastball had some kick, but was easily handled by Todd Frazier on a key two-run double early on. He wasn't allowed to go through the lineup a third time thankfully, because that would have been ugly. Suffice to say, the worries over the rotation look valid two games in.

4) Hey there, Greg Garcia. SWING THE BAT, DUDE! Don't be afraid to hurt that baseball too much if you happen to make contact. In a key spot in the seventh inning, the relentless and hard to-let-go utility guy watched a straight, juicy fastball blow through the zone for a strikeout looking. As Merrill Hess told his brother in Signs, it just hurt not to swing. Be like Merrill, Mr. Garcia. I wonder what Yairo Munoz could have done.

3) Marcell Ozuna is doing a really good interpretation of a struggling Ron Gant. Dude has a big long swing that is missing so far. Batting 1.000 in providing heavy wind gusts to the lower bowl of seating. I have faith, but I'm waiting for this newly acquired "difference maker" to demolish a baseball. Pitchers are challenging him and while he is close, it's coming up short.

2) Excuse me, Dexter Fowler. You are aces on Twitter and have a wife who deserves her own local talk radio show, but you resemble Willie Hayes in the early going of Major League. Chipping baseballs without getting a hold of them. Lazy flies into the outfield. Easily fooled by hits to the gap or corner. I thought we played all those games in the spring to be ready and knock off the dust. You're a leadoff guy and are hitless. Change that. Thanks.

1) Sam Tuivailala will have an easy inning one day soon, hopefully. Two outings and two headaches. So far, a lot of during-the-inning changes being made by Mike Maddux and it slows a game down badly. The game doesn't need any extra speed, but when relievers don't do their job, it pulls baseball down to a slow crawl. The bullpen is crowded, so Tui has to pick it up. Also, why is he only throwing a heater 92 mph. Can someone say, "forearm strain" around the corner?

There were some good things:

*Bud Norris, hated by 97 percent of Cardinal Nation, pitched 1.1 innings, striking out two.

*Jose Martinez collected two more hits and a walk.

*Matt Carpenter cranked home run #1 on a high fastball, signaling a shoulder injury must have finally passed.

*Yadier Molina had two more hits as well.

The Cardinals may just have to settle for a 160-2 season. They look rusty and still can't get the big hit in a big spot. The pitching is okay at best. There's a lot of schedule left, so but the things that were happening in the spring are happening this week.

As Jeff Fisher once said a hundred times, "they'll fix it."

Thanks for reading,


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