Pallante takes advantage of starting chance to help Cardinals pull into NL Central lead

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Andre Pallante throws during the first inning of a...
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Andre Pallante throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds Friday, June 10, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)(Jeff Roberson | AP)
Published: Jun. 11, 2022 at 1:02 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Contrary to his manager’s belief that Andre Pallante doesn’t realize the stage on which he stands as he navigates his rookie MLB season, the young right-handed pitcher understands the gravity of his moments on the mound in the majors.

“We joke around and say he doesn’t know where he’s at,” Oliver Marmol said. “But he really just doesn’t care. He goes out there, he has a good game plan. This guy’s a baseball rat. He knows what he wants to do and he goes out and executes it.”

Pallante executed, indeed, to the tune of 5.1 scoreless innings for the Cardinals as they snapped a losing skid with a 2-0 win over the Reds on Friday at Busch Stadium. For a rookie pitcher making his second-career start, Pallante could have rather easily seen his outing go off the rails when he loaded the bases with a pair of walks in the first inning.

That’s where Marmol’s assertion that Pallante “doesn’t care” about his environment rang true in a way—more accurately, it became clear that Pallante wasn’t rattled by it.

“It’s nice being on the mound because everything in front of you is—you can kind of tune out everything,” Pallante said. “You can just see the catcher, the batter, and the umpire.”

“I definitely care,” Pallante grinned before describing why caring, in his case, doesn’t lead to nerves getting the better of him. “But I’ve had a lot of opportunities in my life where I’ve had either big crowds or high-pressure situations. That has all prepared me for a situation like this. Kinda just have to sit there and breathe.”

A first-inning visit from pitching coach Mike Maddux lined up Pallante to hone in on the task at hand. Whatever Maddux said while administering ‘The Claw’ to the rookie, it delivered the desired results. Pallante got Matt Reynolds to line out to Dylan Carlson in right field to end the threat.

From there, Pallante cruised, scattering just three singles—and no more walks—over his next 4.1 innings to put the Cardinals in position for a much-needed win.

Pallante was granted a whirlwind opportunity at the beginning of the 2022 season when the Cardinals brought the 23-year-old right-hander north with them from Jupiter, Florida as a member of the season-opening bullpen in St. Louis.

He acquitted himself nicely, compiling a 1.07 ERA in 17 relief appearances to begin the season. But as injuries and ineffectiveness were ravaging the Cardinals pitching staff, a doubleheader in Chicago meant the Cardinals needed Pallante for a spot start. He pitched four innings, allowing only one run while giving up four walks. There was room for improvement, but Pallante showed Marmol enough to keep him in the role on a more permanent basis.

“We had a big need for it,” Marmol said. “We had a couple of guys go down. And when you look at his stuff, he’s able to handle right and left just fine. He’s on the ground quite a bit. And his stuff is pretty electric. That checks a lot of boxes.”

Marmol said Friday he was impressed by Pallante’s ability to slow things down on the mound. Though he acknowledged Pallante’s tendency to walk batters on occasion during his time in the minors, he’s confident in the rookie’s ability to navigate around danger. That’s been the case in his two starts over the past week, as Pallante has given up just one run in 9.1 innings despite six walks.

“There are innings where he’ll walk some people,” Marmol said. “His ability to stay under control is what’s going to allow him to do what he did today where he’ll settle in. You could tell when he came off the mound, that he was pretty mad at himself. He was able to settle back in and do just fine. His ability to do that is going to be key.”

As a newly entrenched member of the Cardinals rotation, Pallante helped pitch the Cardinals into first place in the NL Central on Friday. It’s the first time the Redbirds have been atop that perch since April 25. The Cardinals’ manager would like to see them stay there.

“I don’t care how early it is, you want people to be chasing you. You don’t want to be chasing people,” Marmol said. “Our goal is to have people chase us the rest of the way.”