It's never good to lose, but today, the St. Louis Cardinals lost to a team that showed the full brunt of the tools that led to its majestic 106-56 record from 2019.
And then some.
In addition to a power display from last year's National League MVP Cody Bellinger, newcomers David Price and Mooke Betts added to the already stacked Dodgers club in a 7-2 thrashing of the Cards (8-5) and starter Jack Flaherty.
Bellinger slammed two home runs off Flaherty, who, quite frankly, didn't have his best stuff. His fastball was down on average about three miles per hour, and his breaking balls weren't, well, breaking.
"There was nothing physically," said Flaherty. "I didn't have a sore or tired arm. I didn't have any distractions. I just couldn't fine that gear I usually have. Why, I couldn't say. But the Dodgers are far too good to succeed when that happens."
Indeed. Both Bellinger's homers were of the two-run variety, one in the first with Joc Peterson on base, the other in the fifth with Gavin Lux aboard. That poke sent Flaherty packing, and left his line at five runs, six hits and two walks in a brief, four and two-thirds inning stint.
Betts reached base three times, including an insult-to-injury home run in the eighth off Tyler Webb.
Price was nonplussed throughout, as he pretty much cruised through six innings giving up no runs, three hits and a walk. Only once, in the fourth, were two Cards on board, and Price induced a Matt Carpenter weak flare to short to end the inning.
The Cards only scored in mop-up time, as the former St. Louis hurler Joe Kelly grooved one to Tyler O'Neill and he didn't miss, powering a 425 footer to deep left with Paul DeJong in front of him.
The 38,344 crowd left disappointed, but did get to see rookie Dylan Carlson grab one of the few Redbirds hits and secure a stolen base as well. Carlson has performed reasonably well early on, and is playing roughly half time.
"That's enough to keep him here," said manager Mike Shildt. "If he dropped much below that -- if we felt other outfielders needed more time in the mix -- then we would consider getting him more ABs in Memphis. But not right now."
The Cards solved the first base equation today with Brad Miller there and Carpenter at third. Tommy Edman took second, helping Kolten Wong deal with his still-aggravated upper right leg, which appears to be a superficial injury. Matt Wieters took the catcher slot today.
Next Up and Notes: The Cards are playing at about a .600 clip, having gotten through the Dodgers, Orioles, Brewers and Reds. They now head out on the road to play the rival Chicago Cubs for two afternoon games Friday and Saturday and a national telecast Sunday evening.