Post Content Cardinals News
6:10 AM UTC
ST. LOUIS — As if having to wait four days to try to snap the longest losing streak of his career wasn’t painful enough, Cardinals left-hander Jordan Montgomery looked on longingly as his teammates piled up 39 runs, 48 hits and 11 home runs in four straight wins before his turn came around again.
When that offensive spree came to an end on Tuesday and the Cardinals mustered very little outside of another power surge from red-hot slugger Nolan Arenado, Montgomery found himself being the tough-luck loser yet again when the Brewers escaped with a 3-2 win at Busch Stadium.
Once 2-0 and positioning himself nicely for free agency following the season, Montgomery lost a sixth decision in a seven-start span on Tuesday when Brewers sluggers Joey Wiemer and Brian Anderson ambushed him for first-pitch solo home runs late in an otherwise strong start.
In his past seven outings, the Cardinals have not scored more than three runs while he was on the mound in any of those games and have dropped all seven. On Tuesday, Montgomery seemed to recover nicely from a slow start by retiring 12 of 14 batters he faced over a four-plus inning stretch. In all, he surrendered just three runs and eight hits, but had little to show for it when the Cardinals slowed offensively.
“You just have to keep pitching,” said Montgomery of how he has dealt with the longest losing streak of his career. “I gave my team a chance to win. That’s all I can do. I’m trying to not get frustrated because I hate losing. I feel like I haven’t won in forever and I’ve been throwing the ball pretty well. But there’s nothing I can really do about it but go out there and pitch.”
With Milwaukee struggling to hit left-handers for a second straight season and ranking 28th in MLB in OPS (.647) against southpaws, the Cardinals announced postgame plans to alter their rotation to get a start for Matthew Liberatore on Wednesday. The 6-foot-4 left-hander, who was acquired in the trade for Randy Arozarena in 2020, will be promoted from Triple-A Memphis almost a year from the date of his MLB debut last May, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said.
After going 2-2 with a 5.97 ERA at the MLB level last season, Liberatore has been impressive so far this year at Triple-A after adding velocity to his fastball. His four wins are tied for the most in the International League and he has struck out 56 in 46 innings.
“He’s done a really nice job down there and it was just a matter of time before he came up,” said Marmol, who noted that veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright will start on Thursday against the Dodgers. “It’s always nice to do it for both reasons — one, to give our guys a break and, two, to reward him for pitching really well down there.”
Still fresh in Marmol’s mind is the Spring Training outing that Liberatore authored on March 18 when he limited the Tigers to three hits and one run, while striking out six over five innings. Marmol called that outing the best one Liberatore has had, and he is hopeful he can repeat it on Wednesday versus former Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes.
“I think you circle the date on that one in terms of a switch in his overall mentality, conviction and stuff,” Marmol said of Liberatore, who is the No. 4-ranked prospect in the Cardinals system, per MLB Pipeline. “He’s done a really good job since then and it’ll be good to get a look at him up here.”
The Cardinals got a good look at Montgomery on Tuesday, and he seemingly pitched well enough to win most of the night — save for the homers to Wiemer and Anderson. Wiemer hit a 93.1 mph sinker, while Anderson connected on a 79.5 mph curveball. Coming into Tuesday, foes had hit just .198 against Montgomery’s heavy sinker, but smashed all his other pitches to the tune of .301. He thought he had solved those issues by working to improve the shape of his curveball and changeup, but the Brewers still got to him.
“Usually when you throw a first pitch and they swing, it’s in your favor,” Montgomery said. “I’ll probably lose some sleep on the first-pitch fastball to Wiemer. That wasn’t a good pitch.”
Early in the game, Montgomery was victimized when Owen Miller and Willy Adames touched him up for two-strike doubles. After that, he racked up seven strikeouts before surrendering the solo shots.
“I’m sure the exit [velocity] — minus the two homers — was pretty small,” Montgomery said. “I think I got barreled up two times. Usually that’s a good night, but we lost so it doesn’t matter.”