The St. Louis Cardinals were crushed by the Atlanta Braves, a depressing backdrop to the Ollie Marmol-Tyler O’Neal feud.
While Cardinals manager Ollie Marmol may want to put the Tyler O’Neal feud behind him, that clearly wasn’t the case during Wednesday’s sweep of the St. Louis Braves. Said drama carried considerable weight in the clubhouse and, ultimately, on the field.
To put it mildly, the atmosphere wasn’t right.
Marmol set the tone for this series by calling the card series “scary” and suggesting that he’s not afraid of giving some players a night off. That’s exactly what happened to O’Neal, though Marmol made it clear it wasn’t a planned event.
“There is a standard here. You meet it, you play it. You don’t, you don’t,” Marmol told O’Neill as he sat down on the bench.
Cardinals. The Ollie Marmol-Tyler O’Neill feud sets the wrong tone
O’Neill seemed upset that Marmol made their discussion public. A single mistake is fine, but if he doesn’t address it, Marmol is in danger of losing the club too early after 162 games.
“He didn’t think I gave my best effort,” O’Neill said. “I’m here every day busting my butt, giving it my all and trying to stay on the field for 160 games here.”
O’Neal has a history of leg injuries, most notably last season. It shouldn’t be too surprising that he took things slowly on the bases, especially given that it had rained recently. As FanSided’s Kevin Henry noted, O’Neal has his eye on the end goal while Marmol is focused on the day-to-day.
“However, other circumstances should be remembered here. For 2023, O’Neal’s sprint speed ranks in the 79th percentile, according to Baseball Savant. At 27.8 feet per second, that’s nearly two seconds slower than the previous years, when O’Neal ranked in the 97th and 98th percentiles. Part of the slowdown has been focused on O’Neill admitting he hasn’t re-aggravated the hamstring injury that has kept him out for part of the 2022 campaign. Add in the rain that came when O’Neal rounded third base, and it’s a recipe for a different speed than he might have had a year or two ago.”
This very disconnect could have a lasting impact on the Card Club if not resolved. St. Louis is a talented team that should be destined for the postseason. Marmol is focused on getting them there, while O’Neill already has his eye on September. Something has to give.