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The Odds Are Still Working Against the Cardinals, But Recent Trends Offer Hope

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was imagining things over the weekend, and that’s OK, because his team is playing very well as of late and I can’t fault him for being a little dizzy, a little giddy.

In speaking to the sports-media pack on Sunday, Matheny said the second half of the 2017 season would offer a “huge opportunity” to his men.

“This could be one of the greatest seasons of any of those guys’ careers because of how much we’ve been written off,” Matheny said. “That, to me, is such an exciting thought, about us putting something together and pushing hard and remembering all the things we’ve already gone through in half a season.”

Who wrote the Cardinals off?

Answer: No one who matters.

Not one credible person has dismissed the 2017 Cardinals and declared the season over.

Not even during their worst, clumsiest and most depressing stretches of the first half were the Cardinals ruled out of contention in the NL Central division.

Here’s the reality:

Yes, many have criticized this team for its inexcusable, repeated lapses in fundamentals. Many –otherwise defined as “people with functioning brains” have pointed out the alarming number (67) of lost base runners, the the loose defense and the disturbing regression of young position players. The Cardinals tried like hell to slip-slide their way out of contention; they just didn’t play sound, quality baseball with the desired frequency.  After all, the boys go into the All-Star break with a LOSING RECORD. But I guess it makes me a ravenous, angry, vicious, hater by mentioning their 43-45 mark. Sorry, snowflakes. The 43-45 record at the All-Star break is the poorest by a Cardinals team since the 2007 unit went 40-45. And in the post-expansion era (1962-present), the team’s current winning percentage (.489) is tied for 39th among 56 Cardinals’ teams. Facts are OK. When GM John Mozeliak, jumped in to tear up a part of Matheny’s coaching staff on June 9, I don’t think he was writing his team off, either. But Mozeliak was demanding a cleaner, and better, performance. Just like most fans and media.

Now onto the friendly part: while it is perfectly fine to hold this team accountable, the Cardinals’ place in the forgiving NL Centra was noted constantly. I cannot count the number of times that I said something along the lines of, “The Cardinals are a mess, but no one is running away from them in the NL Central.” In spite of themselves, the Cardinals never even came close to tumbling out of the division race.  Since June 16, the Cardinals have swayed between 3.5 games and 5.5 games out of first place on 22 of 23 days. The Cardinals had one day — after losing to  the New York Mets this past Friday — where they slipped to 6.5 games out for 24 hours. But after beating the Mets Saturday and Sunday, the Cardinals are a workable 5.5 games behind the first-place Milwaukee Brewers going into the All-Star Game festivities.

The Cardinals threatened to write themselves out of this drama. For a while there the only team they could master was the worst-in-show Philadelphia Phillies. Between May 16 and June 24, the Cardinals had a 5-1 record against the Phillies but were 7-24 vs. other opponents.

To their credit, the Cardinals rebounded and bounced into the break with 10 wins in their last 15 games. The surge included series wins over two quality teams, Arizona and Washington.  In their last four series entering the break, the Cardinals had three wins and a split.

In going 10-5 to reverse the negative flow, the Cardinals got a 3.13 ERA from their pitchers. Starting pitchers Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha have come on strong as of late, so that’s encouraging. And a few words on the STL bullpen: over the last 12 games the relievers have combined for a 1.41 ERA, and opponents have been limited to a modest .617 OPS. That’s a good sign for the team.

The Cardinals offense averaged 5.9 runs per game with an .804 OPS over the last 15 games. And in one of the most entertaining developments of the season, the Cards were carried by three players that opened the season at Triple A Memphis: outfielder TommyPham, shortstop Paul DeJong and first basemen Luke Voit.

Roll these numbers around in your head…

In the last 15 games, here’s what Pham, DeJong and Voit have combined to do for this offense:

— A .355 batting average, with a .408 onbase percentage and 1.200 slugging percentage.

— Nine homers, 29 RBIs, 23 extra-base hits, 31 runs.

— And this is my favorite: over the last 15 games, this trio of former Memphis Redbirds accounted for 47.3% of the Cards’ homers, 33.7% of the RBIs, 35.2% of the runs, 45.6% of the extra-base hits, 36.4% of the hits, and 40.5 percent of the total bases.

— By the way: since being promoted on May 5, Pham ranks 13th among all MLB outfielders with a 140 wRC+. (Park-adjusted runs created.) That’s 40 percent above the league average. And from May 5 until now, Pham’s wRC+ is higher and better than Bryce Harper, Mookie Betts, Charlie Blackmon.

I don’t know if it’s fair to expect to Pham, DeJong and Voit to keep this up. But they’ve definitely freshened a tired-blooded team with their energy, enthusiasm and most of all performance. With center fielder Dexter Fowler back from the DL and second baseman Kolten Wong expected to return from the DL after the break, there will be a traffic jam for playing time.

Let’s worry about that in a couple of days; for now let’s just appreciate what we’ve seen from Pham, DeJong and Voit. Let’s take a few hours to appreciate the improved bullpen work, and a Cardinals rotation that finished the first half ranked No. 5 in the majors in starting-pitching ERA (3.90) and third in quality starts (48.) The defense is a little tighter now, and not as goofy. The base running is an issue, but let me say that it hasn’t been quite as scary-bad over the last two-plus weeks.

The Cardinals will resume play with a 10-game roadie that takes them to Pittsburgh, New York (Mets) and Wrigley Field in Chicago. This journey gives the Cardinals an immediate opportunity to declare themselves. Sure, they’ve won 10 of the last 15 games, but is it real?

We’ll find out. But as it stabds The odds aren’t promising. According to the postseason probabilities FangGraphs gives the Cardinals a 20.2 percent chance to win the division, and a 30.3 percent chance to make the playoffs. Six NL teams have a greater postseason probability than the Cardinals.

And there’s this: since the second wild card was added (in each league) in 2012, only two of the 50 teams that made the playoffs through 2016 had a losing record at the All-Star break. Both teams — Toronto and Texas — pulled it off in 2015.

This doesn’t mean that we should write the Cardinals off.

Again: no serious person has written this team off.

And really, that’s irrelevant. Here’s why: instead of worrying about outsiders writing them off, the Cardinals need to play excellent second-half baseball and write themselves in.

Thanks for reading …

–Bernie

More: Miklasz – Cardinals Pitcher Adam Wainwright and the Confusion of Misleading Statistics

  • James Berry

    I get the feeling Wong was kept on the shelf and his rehab delayed so they could audition Voit at 1st. Also, maybe to see how much further Carpenter has regressed as a viable 2nd baseman. Both question, if indeed they were asked, were answered, at least somewhat. Voit looks more than able to handle 1st and his offense has been a welcomed sight. Can he sustain it, is the better question. Carpenter definitively showed he has regressed even further manning the Keystone. He’s a clear liability there. Especially for a team that is somewhat defensively challenged anyway.

    I’m in Camp Trade Carpenter and have been for some time. The Yankees seem like a possible fit for both he and Lynn. What could be had in return for them? I could see Justus Sheffield and Dermis Garcia as palatable.

    We’ll need to get something for Lynn, most definitely. I just don’t see him a fit for future plans in St. Louis and we’ve run out of places to hide Carpenter’s glove. Along with the fact that he seemingly only can, or wants to, hit lead off, makes him expendable in my opinion.

    • Taylor

      No, he doesn’t only want to hit leadoff. This is BS.

      • James Berry

        The proof is in the numbers. But you’d likely call stats BS as well.

        • LawrenceKScardsfan

          James I agree. Carp is the odd man out in an infield that could really tighten up if he were not playing defense. And his offense is substantially off – every year he has dropped down from his breakthrough year in 2013. Of course the question is who you would get for him, Lynn and Grichuk. Could they get frontline pitching? A dominant closer?

          • James Berry

            As i posted in my original comment, i think we’ll get prospects for Carpenter and Lynn. Grichuk’s value is tricky. He’s cost controlled the next 3 seasons via arb. With GMs seemingly OK with strikeouts as long as a hitter has good power, someone might bite on him. More likely he’s an add in on a package deal. Maybe a three team deal even. None of them alone will net a frontline pitcher or dominant closer.

        • Big T

          James, Carp is averaging 160 hits a season over the last four (640 hits) along with 42 doubles per year(168 total.) Not to mention being at the top of the list in OBP for each year. Are you sure we can lose that type of solid producer/hitter on this offense? I don’t believe Carpenter is in the conversation of being traded.

          I’d much rather see them trade Wong who is under a team friendly contract and I suspect would generate higher trade value while we keep an overall better player. IMO.

          • James Berry

            It’s nice to average out a player’s production, but it’s not a truthful way of presenting stats. His hits are bolstered by the 199 he had in ’13. His doubles are bolstered by ’13 & ’15. Offense includes base running ability, which in his case, is absolutely horrible. We have a lead off hitter that has no speed and runs the bases like a chicken with its head cut off…only slower.

            Trade Wong and who starts at 2nd? If you say Carpenter, then any good argument you might have had for trading Wong is invalid.

            “Overall” is pretty much the same as all-encompassing. Is Carpenter a better athlete than Wong? No. Base runner? No. Faster? No. Better defensively? No. Younger? No. Cheaper? No. Higher upside going forward? No.

          • Big T

            James, I will take Carp over Wong on a 150 game performance on any year. Carp’s stat totals are lower last year only because he spent time on the DL with oblique problem. (Totals low but his average is pretty much the same) How is looking at a players average year over 7 years not an accurate representation of what kind of player he is? Are you rating KW on this year or “overall”?

            I realize you are on the board of directors for “get rid of carp” but really a career .876 OPS, .378 OBP and a plus 4 defender at his position this year… Whats not to like? You act as if Wong is some superior defender at 2B. He is flashy and is capable of highlight type plays but isn’t consistent with routine plays. Too immature and emotionally disconnected when he screws up. He is fast but his BB IQ is low and it shows regularly. IMO!

            By the way if you take one year out of KW career, he doesn’t even average 100 hits a year. KW OBP is .318 and his OPS is .695. Not real good. Nothing he shows says it will be any different!

          • James Berry

            First off, how would you know anyone’s baseball IQ?

            As i said earlier, Wong’s drama is because of youth. Carpenter’s is because of a lack of skills.

            I don’t use any player’s average year compiled from a list of stats that fluctuate. It’s fool’s gold.

            They won those series in spite of him playing 2nd. Also, he’s played 7 games at 2nd. Unless the last 4 series were only 2 games each, then no, he didn’t play 2nd in all of them. In fact, he’s only played 2nd in the last 2 series.

            Perez is still in Rookie League. Coming soon is a fallacy. Mejia is a glove guy, strictly. He may never hit another homer in the majors. Gyorko is our 3rd baseman. DeJong is not near as good at 2nd as he is at SS. If you believe either Carpenter or Garcia are adequate at 2nd full time, defensively, then you are foolish.

            You can have Carpenter all you want. Just be kind enough to take him to another team.

          • Big T

            James, If you don’t recognize baseball IQ it would be hard to explain but I will attempt to give you some direction.. Player on first base reading the pitch into the dirt knowing when to go or not go, projecting the probability that a defender can get to a fly ball, when to go first to third, adjusting to how a pitcher is attacking you,situational hitting, situational running…hopefully you were just being facetious.

            You apparently are so busy with your board of directors job “Get rid of Carp” that you have missed he is having a great last 6 weeks and counting. 6th best OBP in baseball. What else do you want from a lead off man?

            My point on who was playing second was Wong was not playing while we were winning those four series. Carp was at either first or second to get Voit in. Carp is a three time all star… Not just a one year wonder as you insist.

            Delvin Perez will be ready for the Big Leagues within three years before his age 22 season. He already projects in the top five organizational prospects and is in the top 100 baseball prospect list. As his sample of play increases so will his projectibility! I view that as coming soon.

            Compare the two players WAR for their careers if you want.

            Only fools gold is believing that the Cards management or knowledgeable fans will EVER want a trade for Carpenter! Or ignoring a players career stats as fluctuating fools gold…GMAB!! IMO!

            Lastly you mentioned that I thought Carp or Garcia would start at second for us. PLEASE get it right I gave 7 players names at options there. Again my point was KW is not our only or best option at 2nd.

            Also why did you ignore the tantrum bad team mate portion of Wong’s actions? You think that is worth ignoring.. Don’t you see it as a detriment?? Wong’s problem is not his youth as you say he just is not that good of a player and should not have been given his contract. He has been in the big leagues for four years. Youth is not a viable excuse.

          • James Berry

            Don’t be a smartass.

            How about speed and the ability to run the bases better than a mudslide on level ground?

            Again, Carpenter did not play in all those series, yet you gave him credit as if he did.

            Perez just got demoted to the GCL. That is the lowest level in our system. Saying he’ll be ready for the bigs in 3 years That’s the epitome of jumping the gun.

            Wong is our best 2nd baseman. If you believe otherwise, then you have a low baseball IQ.

            You mean i’m ignoring something, such as you ignoring Carpenter’s often stated musings how he’s our best lead off hitter and the best option at 2nd? Carpenter is a “me player”. Always has been, always will be.

          • Big T

            If Wong is our best option at second then we need to trade for a second baseman. PERIOD!

            In his career Carp has more walks, hits, doubles, (and highest OBP on our team) than any of our other current players. Currently he has the sixth highest OBP in ALL of baseball!! WAR is superior to Wongs and anyone else on the team. Sounds like a horrible choice for a lead off man. I will just agree to disagree with your “get rid of Carpenter” perspective.

            The only thing I hear from you is Carp can’t run the bases as well as you. I guess we should bench Molina for not being able to run the bases too. James just because you say something does not make it right. Sounds like that is the way you REGULARLY speak to people so GOOD DAY

          • James Berry

            Adios. Don’t like what i say, then ignore my comments or just block me. Easy peasy.

  • LawrenceKScardsfan

    It’s interesting what this article fails to mention. Bernie does a good job of refuting Matheny’s statement about the Cardinals being written off. For my part, I’ve not written them off but I have stated before that even if they make the playoffs, I don’t see them going very deep into them.

    But what is missing – and what I hope Bernie writes about – is whether this team is going to be a seller or a buyer at the trade deadline. I’m totally unsure what they should do. It seems to me they could go either way.

    At the risk of starting a controversy, I can see them moving Lynn and Carpenter. Carpenter you ask? Yes. The guy’s defense is just not up to snuff and his offense has been not as good as in past years. With a crowded infield and with Fowler available as the leadoff, it makes sense to me to use him as a trade chip. Lynn goes without saying. He’s ready for free agency and the Cardinals have not said whether they plan to pursue him. I think though it’s pretty clear they do not.

    You could use these trade chips to improve the team or pick up prospects. I’m not sure what they plan to do. Here’s where MO will earn his stripes.

    • Taylor

      They aren’t trading Carpenter, nor should they.

      • LawrenceKScardsfan

        Taylor – you may be right. It depends on whether they think they have a team that could make a deep run. Look I like Carp as much as the next guy but he’s been used at 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and hasn’t really cut it. Now they’re are some arguing that he should see time in the OF. Geez….

        The infield is full of prime beef. Wong will return after the all star break. Dejong – wow what a find. At first you could put Gyorko and/or Voit. Diaz would man 3rd and Dejong would handle SS duties. That’s a heck of an infield and possibly one that could make a run. And let’s not forget about Garcia.

        In the OF, the last thing the Cards need is Carp. They’ve go Pham, Grichuk (who might also be trade bait), Piscotty, Fowler, and Sierra. And it’s my understanding that they have talent in the OF on the farm that could easily step in and play.

        Carp, Lynn, and Grichuk are all expendable – especially for a top line SP or a closer.

        • John W

          I don’t understand why you keep thinking that any team would want those three names you keep mentioning for a “top line SP” as you say ! Lynn is a free agent rental, Carpenter has about 28M left on his contract. Grichuk is the only one of the three that is totally expendable , though don’t you think other teams are very aware of his issues, strikeouts, poor fielding, ect.. ?
          Teams might take one of those 3 in a package but they are going to want prospects, top tier prospects under control. Teams are going to be asking about Dejong, Voit, Sierra, Bader, Kelly, Fernandez, Hudson, and so many others. They don’t want Cardinal trash in a package !

          • LawrenceKScardsfan

            I don’t think of any of these guys as “trash.” I view them as tradable assets because, with the exception of Lynn, the Cardinals have equal or better replacements available. The only reason to trade Lynn is if, IF, you think you can make a run at a flag. I’m not sure this team has that capability unless the other teams continue to play poorly.

        • geoff

          I wonder why so many people are so keen on trading Lynn. That guy is a workhorse. It looks like he has gone through what they call a dead arm stage, but for a man coming off of TJ surgery, he has been just OK but he looked to me like his pitches have regained life in his last start.

          • LawrenceKScardsfan

            Agree – Lynn is a workhorse. And a good pitcher. I’ve always liked the guy. But if the Cardinals plan to make a run or plan to sell or both, you have to look around the existing clubhouse to see who can be traded. Lynn is a short-timer. He has already stated he plans to pursue free agency and the Cardinals have shown little interest (none?) in resigning the guy. If you can get something for him now’s the time.

          • Big T

            His most recent interview I heard suggested he would like to work a deal out with the Cardinals. Cards wanted to wait until at least the break to make sure they were not solely traders and that his health was good! Reasonable approach under the circumstances.

          • geoff

            I guess most everybody else has a different opinion of Lynn than I have. Everyone else keeps talking about a front of the rotation type pitcher, like he isn’t one. The guy didn’t pitch last year and he looks to have gone through a bit of dead arm lately. It looks to me like he will be fine the rest of the way. The problem with signing him would be that they would reduce further their flexibility. Teams that have good seasons and make deep runs have a Lance Lynn type on their staffs. From the teams that might be ready to sell, I am wondering just who the Cards could pick up that would be better. All off-season the talk was about Qunitana, but he hasn’t been to good this year. The Cards probably didn’t have the prospects to get Sale, and they should be thanking their lucky stars that Price went to Boston. Can you imagine the bitching you would see if they had that albatross hanging around their neck. I don’t know what value Wacha holds but, is a Faberge egg. There was talk all winter about teams showing an interest in Wong….I would be calling those teams to see what they have to offer. After I saw Mejia turn that double play, I was hoping he would get a good long look at second….fast hands.

          • LawrenceKScardsfan

            Yep – Lynn is a very good pitcher, a workhorse, and someone you need to have around to get into the post season. But I think the chance he resigns with the Cardinals are low.

            Yes – Price was goofy. They could have easily resigned Lackey. Stupid moves.

            I’m not sure whether they need pitching or not. I look at the team and it appears to be deeper than is suggested by its record. In fact. I’d argue that the parts are greater than the whole. So this may be a perfect case of poor management – something DeWitt does not feel to bothered about.

          • geoff

            I am not certain that you are correct about Lackey. He said repeatedly that he was playing for Joey, with whom he had a long friendship. There were people last off-season lobbying to sign Turner. Justin Turner did not want to sign with anyone but the Dodgers. I doubt that any other team could have offered him enough to sway him from the offer they made. I know Matheny makes some head-scratcher moves but I think Mo could have done better. The Cards started the season at a disadvantage because of the way the bullpen was constructed, too many veterans leaving no room for movement. Mo missed the boat on the incredibly exploitable 10 day DL, Hell the Dodgers have taken full advantage of the new rule, effectively increasing their big league roster to forty. I think that Mo is guilty of both over and under valuing certain players. For some reason, M&M decided that Randall Grichuk would just step right in and be the next Matt Holliday. I am still trying to figure what about his performance to date ever gave them that idea. Who knew that Piscotty was going to tinker with his swing trying to add saber-metric lift, taking him from being a line drive .300+ hitter, to being what we now see. All he had to do was take a look at Carpenter, if he wanted to see how that would end up. Mo loves him some Kolten Wong, who is a drama queen, could be a good ball player, but it’s always something with that kid. Mo panic signed Fowler, a good player, not a bad signing except for the NO_TRADE part. I can see the changes that Diaz made but I don’t quite understand why he can’t get it figured out at the plate. This year everyone is pining for a big thumper for the middle of the lineup. I am not certain if adding a Donaldson type would be as great as most think. We have already witnessed the fact that the solo home run isn’t really that big of a deal. The biggest downfall or disappointment or failing or misevaluation made by the organization has to be regarding Matt Carpenter. They thought he would fit right in and thrive batting third in the lineup. As it turns out his history is also his present. He has had great difficulty producing from any spot in the order other than lead-off for a couple of years now. Not sure why they thought this year would all of a sudden be different. Now they have a lead off batter who goes up looking for a walk…the problem is that he could be the worst base runner than I have ever seen in a Cardinal uniform. Add to those glitches his difficulties in the field, everywhere in the field, and you saw Mo send Adams to Atlanta and pay them to take him just to avoid the controversy, and maybe the redundancy of having two left handed first basemen. The problem that left behind is that left their bench with only Greg Garcia from the left side. The Cards are a decidedly right handed roster in the box and on the field, yet there is a distinct possibility that following the break they could have four lefties in the bullpen. The roster is what I would call a strange brew. My guess is that if they try to make a move to take a run at it this year, Sierra will be the premier minor leaguer to go. That kid is a real talent and he is being stifled right now, and is blocked in the future because Mo panicked and signed Fowler to a no-trade contract in an effort to improve this year. The on-field coaching staff has had some amount of difficulty reminding this bunch of the fundamentals they have learned since little league. It might be time to just clean house. My problem with that is that I really like Matheny…I just question his coaches, particularly Mabry and his 30 degree lift bullshit. That is just bad baseball theory.

          • LawrenceKScardsfan

            A lot to digest there. Lackey IMO would have been a great choice for the transition to Reyes. You talk about Lynn and Lackey is Lynn in spades. We don’t know what Turner might have done – MO refused to make ANY offer for the guy. So it’s impossible to tell, even though Turner would be just the guy to help this team – not solely an HR hitter, strong offense, and a good third baseman – great when compared to who we started the season with (Peralta). I’m still not sure I see Gyorko as the permanent 3rd baseman. So using him as he was intended to be used – as a utility fielder at all FOUR (think about that) positions makes a lot of sense.

            I think all can see that Grichuk is just not cutting it. He’s on my trade list as well as Lynn (only because I don’t think there is much of a chance that DeWitt will offer anything for him – like Lackey) and Carp. Carp as you point off is limited at leadoff due to his terrible baserunning. Fowler and Pham make a much better 1/2. And if Piscotty doesn’t get on the bus, there are fielder’s in the minors that can come up and make it happen. Piscotty is not only experiencing a decline at batting, but from what I can tell he’s having a heckuva time in RF getting to balls. He almost seems slower.

            BTW, the no-trade clause – can Fowler waive that?

          • geoff

            I think Carpenter was a heck of a hitter until he changed his swing. He drops that back shoulder so much now to lengthen his time in the hitting zone and his top hand is later to increase his launch angle…all in an attempt to increase his home run hitting possibilities. It could be the reason we liked him so much as a lead off man, or at least we didn’t notice his base running faults so much, was that he hit so many doubles. He is not Yadi slow, but he is not Fowler fast either. He doesn’t get the reads or jumps on balls in play that some of the better runners are able to get. His play at first base has improved exponentially as this season has worn on. His footwork is his biggest problem right now, and better footwork comes with experience and comfort at the position. Keep in mind, he hasn’t been over there for a very long time. If Matt were to go back to his old swing and approach, the line drives would probably return. If that were to happen no one in their right mind would even have a glimmer of thought about getting rid of him. The Cards are in something of a tough spot. They just don’t seem to have the right mix right now. As to Fowler’s no-trade, I imagine anything could be worked out, but I would not be quick to get rid of him. Dexter Fowler is one heck of a baseball player and he looks to me like the kind of man who realizes that he probably will not be a center fielder as he ages. As for all of the clamor about willy-nilly trading this guy or that guy and bringing up a minor leaguer as a replacement, I tend to pump the brakes a bit. Piscotty has always had a bit of trouble going back on balls, but he seems to have regressed a bit this year. Again it is about comfort and he needs to gain some comfort, he looks a little gun-shy. I have seen Bader play a little bit and he is not better than Pham Fowler and Piscotty, or Sierra for that matter, at least not when I saw him . I saw an interview with Turner the other day and he made it pretty clear that he didn’t want to go anywhere but the Dodgers, and he intimated that he had passed on higher dollar offers. There is a lot to be said for playing where you want to play. Like I said before , I think Lynn is a horse but signing him would limit the team’s flexibility quite a bit. They don’t have a better pitcher knocking on the door. Reyes will probably be used out of the bullpen next year primarily, which fits in well with Wainwright probably leaving the rotation the following year when this contract is up. I know one thing for sure, I could not do a better job than the people I am being critical of are doing. I’m just an old guy mouthing off. what I really want is for the Cardinals to play good fundamentally sound baseball in the field and on the bases, and to be hitters with power, not power hitters. The big talk is that the Cards don’t have that big thumper in the middle, no one that other teams fear. Consider that when the Cards had Clark he didn’t hit all that many home runs, but he was surrounded by a bunch of guys who got on base a lot and could run like a herd of deer. All of these guys are so strong nowadays and the ball is so hard that they will see enough mistakes to hit their fair share of home runs. Just go up there and hit line drives, put pressure on the opposition by filling the bases, rather than trying to draw a walk and hit a home run.

      • M W

        Don’t be too sure. Carp could bring a nice return to an AL team. And, yes, the Cards should absolutely be looking to trade Carp.

    • Rich Rauch

      Bernie wrote, “The Cardinals will resume play with a 10-game roadie that takes them to Pittsburgh, New York (Mets) and Wrigley Field in Chicago. This journey
      gives the Cardinals an immediate opportunity to declare themselves.” That trip ends on July 23, a week before the trade deadline. The Cardinals’ opponents’ combined record is 124-139. Meanwhile, the Cubs’ opponents are 127-136. And, the Brewers’? 100-163. Ugh.

      Also, while playing those 10 games on the road against somewhat-tougher opponents, the Cardinals have no days off (none before the July 31 deadline), while the Brewers and Cubs each have one. In fact, the day before their series at Wrigley, the Cubs will be resting while the Cards play in NYC before flying to Chicago.

      So, as to who’s buying or selling, we should know a lot more by July 24. I have to think Mo and M.G. (the G.M.) are burning both ends of that candle.

  • BradW

    Game management metric analysis follows:
    Per the article, “..alarming number (67) of lost base runners”. Let’s make the rough approximation that a man lost in the base paths is equivalent to a lost hit. In terms of wins (sabermetrics), 9 or 10 runs is equivalent to 1 win. But, how many hits is equivalent to a run? Speculating that it’s approximately 3 hits per run, then the Cards have lost about 2.2 games due to the baserunning errors. What was the net impact? I guess we would have to determine how many extra bases the team was able to achieve and calculate the net difference. If they are super aggressive and the benefits outweigh the costs, then it could still be a good situation. However, I am suspicious that is not the case. Does anybody have any insight?

    • geoff

      GREAT COMMENT. I love it when someone makes a comment that makes me think and provides a different perspective.

  • If commenters here, myself included, haven’t been writing the Cardinals off, I don’t know what you call it. I consider them a .500 ball club until proven otherwise. They look good in spurts. Just like .500 ball clubs do. No, I have not written them off for the Central Division pennant, but I have written them off as being a playoff-caliber team. There is a big difference. Some of us are not satisfied with “staying in the hunt” in a mediocre division in the weaker league. They had a nice close to the first half. But going 10-5 does not mean they are playing very well, it means they played well for two weeks. Just like .500 ball clubs do. The Dodgers and ‘Stros have been playing “10-5” ball all season. Just like .667 clubs do. I have not been a Matheny supporter, but I think it unfair to ridicule Matheny for saying people are writing the Cards off. Some of us, at least, have. Denial is not a river in Egypt.

    • LawrenceKScardsfan

      They certainly cannot be described as dominant. The question is what is missing? Who could be traded to alleviate an issue? If the Cardinals want to play hard ball (pardon the pun), the most likely candidates are Lynn, Carp, and Grichuk as I see it perhaps for a front-line SP.

  • M W

    Pham can keep it up. It’s not like he’s hitting out of his mind. He’s been steady.

    Obviously Dejong and Voit will come back down to earth. That’s why it’s so important for Carp and Piscotty to wake up and do their job. They also need Wong to come back strong.

  • ecall

    It’s the old no respect, us against the world, nobody thinks we can do it morale booster.

  • geoff

    This writer doth protest too much, methinks.

  • keith walker

    when carp isn’t hitting .300 and driving in runs more consistantly he has no place on the field as he is awful wherever you put him and is a lousy baserunner just bad fundamentally, tho he tries so hard. second half should prove very interesting in Matheny’s evolution as a mgr. we will find out immediately if he has fowler stay in CF when you have two guys who are vastly superior to play the position in Pham and even the erratic grichuk. should be dex in LF, Tommy in C and piscotty in r. when wong comes back he will put carp on first but what happens when a LH is pitching? does he allow the sold voit a chance or does he pull a adams and sit him? will he adjust to reality of who is pitching well and allow Brebbia? and Cecil more hi pressure situations or just stick Oh and Trevor out there?

  • keith walker

    Two huge holes that need to be addressed, Fryer has totally failed as a hitter, which is truly surprising and Garcia. Mejia needs to be backup as he is outstanding defensively and has some pop. Do you bring the kid up from Memphis to watch games or keep him starting there? He is more than ready but doing it properly means sitting Yadi, which they need to do, two days a week at least and let him have something left for september and OCTOBER, which is the only season that matters.

  • Jeff Morris

    I read all this and wonder to myself just how the Cub fans in Chicago are reacting to having the exact same record as the Cardinals.