Three games on the road versus a playoff team. A 5-1 start to the season is always a good thing. Not to take the shine off a great series, but it sure looked as if Cardinals players have quit on manager Oliver Marmol.
Marmol publicly called out Tyler O’Neill’s hustle in game two and benched him for game 3. Marmol wasn’t wrong. O’Neil was half-assing it for sure, but airing grievances to the media is always going to lose you the clubhouse.
Marmol is young and inexperienced. His hiring always seemed a bit odd, as did the firing of Mike Shildt, but the Cardinals wanted a manager that bought in on analytics. This is a great example of what happens when you let the nerds in the front office make decisions instead of the experienced men on the field and around the team.
An analytics-driven manager is never going to be a player favorite. I fully expect Marmol to be canned soon if the Cards don’t turn things around. How soon? I think anything less than 5-5 in the next ten games, and he’s gone. The Cardinals have too much talent to let the first month of the season get away from them.
To point out things that didn’t go well for Atlanta in St. Louis, I’d have to really pick nits. Charlie Morton went 5.1 innings and recorded a win in game one but allowed nine hits and two walks, with only one strikeout. He will need to cut back on the number of runners on base if he is going to continue to record wins.
On offense, the only hitter struggling so far is Marcell Ozuna, who has only one hit, a home run, in his first five games. Surely he isn’t going to hit .059 all year, so there is nothing to worry about yet. Even if he does struggle, the Braves can use one of the catchers as the DH and use Eddie Rosario in left.
So, what went right? Quite a bit. Ronald Acuna Jr. hit another homerun and stole another base. If you’re tracking his run for a 30/30 season, he is at 2/2 after six games.
Matt Olsen stayed hot. He is at 3 home runs and 7 RBI already, and really the entire lineup is doing really well.
Austin Riley typically starts slow and has to this point, but he 2 home runs in the series, one of which traveled 473 feet, the 4th longest in Busch Stadium History.