Matheny admits Cards have 'long way to go' after error-filled loss
By Derrick Goold | St. Louis Post-Dispatch | April 26, 2017
There were brief, even emotionally uplifting moments when it appeared the Cardinals were about to defy their defensive difficulties again and, thanks to Jose Martinez or Dexter Fowler, escape from themselves.
Those lasted, give or take, an inning.
Three times the Cardinals overcame a defensive miscue against Toronto on Tuesday at Busch Stadium. A fourth proved too much. The Blue Jays scored the decisive run for a 6-5 victory in the 11th inning on a play that could have been given two errors — one on the throw, the other on a choice. After leaving his feet to snare a sharp grounder, Aledmys Diaz rushed his throw and it sailed wide of first baseman Martinez. The rookie and novice first baseman tried to reach for the throw instead of leaving the base to assure he made the catch. The result was a ball that got past him and allowed Marcus Stroman, a pitcher, to scurry home for the winner.
Five of Toronto’s six runs traced directly back to one of the Cardinals’ season-high four errors.
“Every one of them ended up hurting,” manager Mike Matheny said. “So, I think it’s something that always stands out. The missed opportunities offensively, too. … We touched on everything. Misplays, we’ve got to get better. Getting guys in, we’ve got to get better. Same thing we’ve been saying. Work. Have high expectations of what work results should look like. We’ve got a long way to go. Clean up things on a consistent basis.”
The Cardinals, winners of six of their previous seven games, had returned to Busch Stadium on the brink of .500 and a chance to erase some of their early-season splotches. Five-win Toronto instead helped the Cardinals find a tipping point they’d rather avoid. Struggling teams are more agreeable than the Washington Nationals or New York Yankees and less likely to capitalize on misplays, as the Cardinals found out in Milwaukee. The Blue Jays, who have the worst record in baseball and one of the game’s meekest offenses, showed there is a point where even a meandering team makes the most of mistakes.
The Jays tied the score and took a lead on a hard-luck error in the fourth when a good throw from Stephen Piscotty ricocheted off a baserunner’s helmet. Toronto extended its lead in the seventh on an error at third base. They took the lead again in the ninth on an errant pickoff throw.
And then there was the Diaz and Martinez stumble.
“I think it’s bad luck coupled with poor defense,” Piscotty said. “I think you can survive with one or the other, but when both happen it’s tough to win ballgames. We’re going to continue to work to clean it up, and hopefully bad luck turns into good luck. … Hope we’re getting it out of our system early.”