Cardinals' Miles Mikolas gets real on 'checkbook baseball' comments after loss to Dodgers - Sport News

Cardinals’ Miles Mikolas gets real on ‘checkbook baseball’ comments after loss to Dodgers

Cardinals’ Miles Mikolas speaks on his past trash-talk after struggling vs. Dodgers

Cardinals' Miles Mikolas gets real on 'checkbook baseball' comments after  loss to Dodgers

With a clubhouse overflowing with superstardom, the Los Angeles Dodgers should not have to rely on bulletin board material to win baseball games this season. But extra motivation can be a powerful thing in the early stages of a 162-game campaign. The St. Louis Cardinals might have drawn the full ire of The Boys in Blue following Miles Mikolas’ bold comments.

The two-time All-Star pitcher previously expressed a desire to defeat LA on Opening Day because of their big-spending ways. He acknowledged the Cardinals’ own healthy payroll (ranks 12th, per Spotrac) but compared them to hard-working Midwestern farmers who are determined to overcome “checkbook baseball.”

The men and women who form the backbone of America were surely not pleased to see their so-called blue-collar brethren get thumped by the Dodgers, 7-1. Mikolas ate his words and earned a large share of the blame, continuing a troublesome trend of rough first innings. He surrendered five runs on seven hits while walking two batters in only 4 1/3 innings of work.

Naturally, the right-handed starter was forced to face the consequences for his remarks. He did not exactly back down.

“Money talks, right?” Mikolas said postgame, per John Denton of “I ended up on the losing side of that one. Talk a little smack here and there and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”

The timing might not be ideal for a Cardinals player to talk trash
St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas (39) throws during the first inning of an opening day game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

Cardinals’ Miles Mikolas gets real on ‘checkbook baseball’ comments after loss to Dodgers

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas (39) throws during the first inning of an opening day game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

Miles Mikolas will inevitably be labeled a “sore loser” for throwing another jab, but the 35-year-old is clearly not going to let a poor performance get in the way of him having some fun. The MLB is often criticized for not encouraging its athletes to showcase their personalities, so perhaps Mikolas’ fearlessness is something to be valued. Though, he also must understand his current level of credibility.

A player who recorded a 4.78 ERA on a last-place team the year before is going to be brutally ridiculed by the baseball-watching world after stirring the pot. As Miles Mikolas notes, however, there is time for the Cardinals to gain the upper hand before the four-game set in Busch Stadium concludes.

“I’m sure the fans had fun with [his trash talk],” he said. “I heard a lot of people yelling that [checkbook baseball] at me when I was warming up and it’s fun. I wish we had come out on top, and I could have said, ‘There you go,’ but we’ve still got three here.”

Although the team is being mocked right now, St. Louis is likely appreciative for the fire Mikolas is bringing. Many, if not most, MLB fan bases are heavily rooting against the Dodgers in 2024. Super teams tend to struggle with garnering sympathy.

Once the Dodgers signed Shohei Ohtani to a record-setting $700 million contract, which includes a mind-boggling $680 million in deferred payments, they were going to be a target for the rest of the league. It will be quite easy for the franchise and its fans to embrace their “villain” role, however, as long as they come out on top.

Miles Mikolas is surely not the only one who wants to take down Dodgers

Even before spring training started, this club knew that it would be under the microscope all yearlong. Mookie Betts said as much when he claimed that playing LA is going to be other teams’ World Series. The statement, while obviously hyperbolic, may contain an iota of truth. After all, Miles Mikolas made a point to take aim at the behemoth.

But there might be more electricity in the air on Opening Day rather than a June game against a bottom-barrel squad. The Dodgers can only arouse so much contempt over the course of an MLB regular season. For now, though, they might want to use the chatter as fuel. The big three– Ohtani, Betts and Freddie Freeman– went a combined 5-for-8 with two home runs and four RBIs against the Cards.

Manager Dave Roberts does not believe the deep pockets narrative will overshadow any of his team’s potential accomplishments. “I think checkbook baseball as a player, you would want that,” he said, according to Dodgers Nation’s Doug McKain. “We’re trying to win as every team is trying to do. Miles can sound off, but I don’t think anyone pays too much attention.”

Mikolas and the Cardinals have a chip on their shoulders after a rare rough season last year. The Dodgers have to prove they can live up to the hype. Such a mixture of tension and pressure should hopefully make for an exhilarating weekend in St. Louis.

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