Alright, so the Cardinals first half of the season wasn’t up to par to most people’s expectations.
But does that mean it was really THAT bad?
Eh… it’s debatable. Even if it doesn’t seem like it.
It started off with a three-game sweep at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Naturally, it wasn’t even remotely what the Cardinals had in mind. Throughout the first two months of the season, they struggled terribly against above .500 teams. Then, out of nowhere, they began sweeping teams like the Cubs and Pirates on the road. There is no true identity to this team, because, much like Missouri’s weather, they change every week.
Even they feel their team is better than the results have showed.
“We felt like we could get hot and instead we’d get cold, then hot, then cold,”Stephen Piscotty said. “I think it’s absolutely still in there. It’s just a matter of going out and playing and getting a few more breaks to go our way.”
General manager John Mozeliak recently referred to their starting pitching as “fine.” The starters rank sixth in the NL with a 4.01 ERA. The bullpen has been good mostly with bad spurts. The relievers are fourth in the NL with a 3.66 ERA and third in opponents’ batting average (.220).
At the same time, FanGraphs rank them the third worst fielding team after the Oakland Athletics and Minnesota Twins, and the second worst base-running team after the Seattle Mariners.
“I think universally our team would say there’s not a satisfaction with where we are,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “We’re fortunate to be where we are. As I look up there, it says we’re seven games behind. With how we’ve played, that’s pretty impressive because we haven’t played well. We saw very short periods where we put it all together and it’s going to happen. There’s too much talent and too much experience and too many winning players on this club not to put it together.”
Despite how he feels about the team’s performance, Piscotty acknowledges their fluctuating game play.
“It was just a little inconsistent,” Piscotty said. “We never did get on that run that I think we were all hoping to get on, but there’s more time for that.”
By far, their biggest issue has been winning at home. They possess one of the five worst home records in baseball, yet one of the best three road records. It’s the 10th anniversary of Busch Stadium III, and the Cardinals are on pace for their worst home record in the 21st century.
Despite all of that, they’re still in second place with a record of 46-42, just seven games behind the Chicago Cubs, and right in the thick of the Wild Card race.
It wasn’t an ideal first half, but if the St. Louis Cardinals have taught us anything, it’s to never count them out.