The Cardinals are 3-8 and currently have the 29th best record in baseball (only the 2-9 Blue Jays have fewer wins).
No matter the outcome of Sunday night’s game, this will be 4 series out of 4 series played that the Cardinals have lost. Which, if we’re being real candid, isn’t the ideal path towards competing for a playoff spot.
Worse, trying to pinpoint what exactly is the problem can be, ummm, difficult?
Is it the hitting? Here’s a hypothetical lineup:
- CF Dexter Fowler: .136
- 2B Kolten Wong: .148
- 1B Matt Carpenter: .212
- C Yadier Molina: .219
- LF Randal Grichuk: .200
- 3B Jhonny Peralta: .120
- RF Stephen Piscotty: .250
- SS Aledmys Diaz: .273
As a group, that’s a .195 batting average. I think it’s fair to say that hitting has been a problem for the Cardinals in 2017.
Is it the defense?
If the people that stole Yadier Molina wouldn’t mind returning him to the team ASAP, we’d consider not pressing charges.
The defense has been a problem for the Cardinals in 2017.
Is it the pitching?
The Cardinals currently have 13 pitchers on the active roster.
- 10 of the 13 have an ERA of 3 or more
- 7 of the 13 have an ERA of 5 or more (including 2 starters)
- If we round, 4 have an ERA of 10 or more (including the closer)
- In 95 innings, 48 earned runs (more than 1 per inning!)
Again, I’m not all that good with numbers, but it seems hard to combat a team average below .200 with a pitching staff giving up a run or more per inning.
So yes, pitching – it has also been a problem for the Cardinals in 2017.
Is it the managing?
It’s not an official stat, but it certainly feels like Mr. Matheny leads MLB in moves that are questioned openly on the record by social media (and friends, and family, and bartenders) before they blow up.
Take, for instance, yesterday. When Mr. Matheny decided to let Carlos Martinez start the 6th inning even though he’d already had a historically odd performance and his pitch count was sitting at a plump 106.
Oh, and, you know, it’s April.
Mind you, these are the type of Tweets you see before Martinez gave up two more runs that made the score 3-0:
The managing isn’t helping matters a ton, no.
But to be fair, when hitters can’t hit and pitchers can’t pitch, managing becomes a game of Russian roulette where all five chambers are loaded.
Basically, we’re in a crappy remake of Family Vacation.
I don’t have the answers.
Thankfully, I’m not paid to have the answers. I do know, however, that when we say ‘it’s early’, we should be careful.
At 3-8, the soonest the Cardinals can be at .500 is 8-8, or 16 games into the regular season. That’s 10% of the entire season just to get back to where they started 2 weeks ago tonight at 0-0.
Is there time to make it right? To get into the playoffs?
The holes can’t get much wider, though. There just isn’t enough bubble gum.