On every level, Wednesday night was a bad one for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Before their game with the Miami Marlins, they found out that prized young pitcher Alex Reyes would miss the rest of the season with a partially detached tendon in his right lat.
Following the second inning, the Cardinals informed the crowd at Busch Stadium that one of the most beloved figures in franchise history, Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst, had passed at 95.
Then St. Louis proceeded to absorb an 11-3 loss at Miami’s hands, allowing a whopping 17 hits, committing three errors and using infielder Jedd Gyorko to pitch the ninth inning in order to save the bullpen for Thursday’s series finale.
That the Cardinals are on the verge of getting swept by one of the worst teams in baseball at home seemed immaterial to most, though, after the news of Schoendienst’s death. Schoendienst played 15 of his 19 major league seasons for the club, managed it in four decades and still wore a uniform into his 90s.
“This was a very unique person,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said of Schoendienst. “What he was able to do on the field was really impressive, but he was in a rare class with his humility. He truly loved the game and this organization.”
“It goes without saying how brilliant Red’s baseball mind was,” Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright said. “He was always excited to see you, always looking for ways to improve.”
A pall seemed to settle over the crowd after the announcement of Schoendienst’s death. The Marlins (22-39) further silenced the fans by scoring multiple runs in four different innings and wading through an ineffective bullpen.
St. Louis (32-27) will lean on right-hander Miles Mikolas (6-1, 2.49 ERA) to salvage a win from a series many assumed it would win or sweep. Mikolas is coming off his first loss Friday night, although the 4-0 defeat to Pittsburgh couldn’t be blamed on him.
He gave up six hits and one earned run in six innings, walking one and fanning two, but the Cardinals were shut down by Jameson Taillon. Mikolas has faced Miami three times in his career, going 0-0 in 6.1 innings with a 5.68 earned run average. Two of those outings came as a reliever.
The Marlins will start right-hander Trevor Richards (0-2, 4.94), who they plan to call up from Triple-A New Orleans. Richards should have a large rooting contingent on hand, as he played his high school ball about 45 minutes east of St. Louis at Mater Dei in Breese, Ill. It will be his first career start against the Cardinals.
Richards should also have a confident offense on his side. Miami scored double figures in a game for the first time this year on Wednesday night, getting two homers from Lewis Brinson and four hits each from Starlin Castro and Derek Dietrich.
“It’s fun when you win, and it doesn’t matter how you do it,” third baseman Miguel Rojas said to mlb.com. “When you win, everything looks bigger. It’s good. It’s a boost of energy.”