A good Cardinal twitter follow of mine will get a kick out of that title. In case you haven’t used the device, www.mlb.com provides viewers with a certain saying when a batter has driven in a run. The GameDay page will feature the batter standing at the plate and in the slot that reveals the pitch it will read, “in play(runs”. This past week, that hasn’t happened often for the St. Louis Cardinals.
The 2014 Roller Coaster Ride continues folks. Up and down. All around. Jerked left and swung right. The ride isn’t over. 28 more games. After winning 8 of 9 and seeming to show a consistent pulse, The Cards have lost 6 of 8. Their record has dropped from 12 games over .500 to only 8 games over .500. If the Padres don’t help out and win a series with the Brewers, the Cards would be more than 2 games out at this very moment.
It’s hard to write good things about a team that hates to produce frequent winning streaks. The baseball at Busch Stadium the past two games has been ugly. The Cards were outscored, outplayed, outpitched, and had their ass handed to them by the Cubs. The rebuilt, young and tough, talented and imposing new Baby Bears team that is mashing home runs like the Cards did back in the steroid Big Mac era. I fear that series against the Cubs in Wrigley in September. They should hand out souvenir Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire face guards for those games.
This is ugly folks. Plain and simple. The bats have left the building. For the most part, the offense is missing. The suspects list runs long but there are people that escape it.
Jon Jay is hitting over .400 for the month of August and driven in a ton of runs. He has picked it up.
Matt Adams‘ power stroke can go missing and his batting average has tumbled but he has been solid throughout the entire season. His splits aren’t kind and he does seem to go into dry spells but it’s hard to quibble with Adams’ overall numbers. His defense is Gold Glove caliber at first base as well. I don’t think he is a cleanup guy but still a starter for the time being.
Matt Carpenter is hitting .278 but getting on base, collecting doubles, and doing his job as a leadoff man. A come down from 2013 but still quality.
Jhonny Peralta is still mashing the ball and getting better in August. He is easily the team’s best power threat. He has 18 home runs and 60 RBI and the average is climbing. He singled and scored the only run today.
Now that the safe parties are out, let’s look at the ones that aren’t cutting it.
Matt Holliday–The big man has cooled in August. Yes, he has 69 RBI, 31 doubles and getting on base to the tune of .363 on the season but Holliday’s power hasn’t stuck around. After slugging .513 in July, Holliday is slugging .392 in August. His OBP is only .325 this month and his average is .245 for the month. His second half strengths are not turning up. On a team desperate for some power and a leading force, Holliday hasn’t stepped into that position. He stung a couple baseballs today but had nothing to show for it. He isn’t hitting horribly, but Holliday’s productivity has worsened in August.
The Right Field Position-Oscar has punched out more hits this month and Randal Grichuk has looked better in his return, but overall, there is ZERO power and productivity coming from this position. Nothing. It’s a singles lair. A place where big sticks die. Remember when Allen Craig was mashing big hits and collecting 100 RBI in less than 130 games? That time is gone. Long gone. No offense to the kids but this area better be sharper in 2015.
Catcher Spot-Tony Cruz couldn’t a baseball with two bats at home plate in Yadier Molina‘s absence and A.J. Pierzynski‘s attitude doesn’t exactly produce extra base hits so this spot has been low for two months. Molina wasn’t ripping the ball before his departure and will need time to get back in the swing, but one can only hope he provides more than The Law Firm of Cruz and Pierzynski.
Second Base-Kolten Wong has expired Mark Ellis(who is on the DL with an injury) but has cooled off in August. That power is gone again and his on base percentage is only .286 this month. He had a nice July. Wong stole 6 bases, cranked 38 hits and was coming on. Again, he isn’t getting on base enough to hit second and his bat is cold again. Second base has dropped overall in 2014.
The Cards have been held to 2 runs or less by the last 6 starters. They have been held by the Cubs pitching to 3 runs in 18 innings. What happens next? The Cards team hasn’t hit admirably at all this season and their pitching is starting to wear down. The return of Michael Wacha will help but what if the bats simply don’t show.
I instilled hope yesterday on this team but urged them to show us their true colors. What if…this is the best the Cards have to give? What if they are destined to finish 8 games over .500 and in second or third place? It’s sad to look at but I am beginning to question how much of a chance there is for a big time winning streak. What if the Brewers don’t hang around? What if Oscar Taveras doesn’t mash and Holliday doesn’t improve? What if Adams’ power never comes full circle? What if Peralta cools off?
It’s hard to say too many good things about this 2014 Cardinals team. They don’t produce much hope and if they do, it’s fleeting.
Well, Game 2 is tonight at seven. I think there is a better chance of rain than a offense consisting of more than singles. Knowing this team, they may prove me wrong.
Thanks for reading this.