There’s obviously no real answer, but it still seemed a good question given the Cardinals’ recent surge: Is there a key to keeping their momentum going?
“If there was then we would keep that key in the ignition and never take it out,” Mike Matheny said before Wednesday’s game. The Cards skipper added he figured the offense would come around eventually.
“We’re just playing the game. Just like everybody was asking all the questions when we were one run, two run, one run, two…for a week straight it was ‘Where’s the offense?’
“Well, it’s going to come…sure enough it has,” Matheny said. “You just hope all the confidence and what we’ve seen is something that continues to figure out a way to find its way here.”
Offense came in a big wave this week, as the Birds scored 13, 11 and 10 runs respectively on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. It’s easy to turn things around when you score 34 runs over three games, so maybe the Cards should just shoot for doing so from now on. Dexter Fowler doesn’t think that’s too far-fetched.
“You never know, man. You never know. There might be 34 (runs) every three games,” Fowler said. “That’s what we built it like. If we keep taking good A-B’s, I think we can do that.
“We haven’t really gone on a win-streak like everybody else so maybe this is our time,” Fowler added.
In addition to the offense finding its footing, the Cards pulled above .500 Tuesday for the first time since June 1, which, as Bernie recently wrote, is largely symbolic, but still an important step for a team that’s struggled so much to reach that mark this season.
It’s a moot point according to Matheny.
“If we’re to get where we want to go; obviously, we need to have a winning record,” the skipper said. “It’s never been anything we’re writing on the whiteboard; ‘two games away.’ Just play the game and get better.
“How can we all get better? Each and every day, that’s kind of, to me, what probably defines this team more than anything else. We’ve done a real nice job figuring out what we’re missing, what we can fix and then putting a plan together to fix it.
“I’d say that combined with just an inherent toughness in this group really impresses me.”
Inconsistency, poor fundamentals and offensive slumps have marred this team throughout the season, but few have questioned their toughness. If hard times breed character, then a team that’s been through the up-and-down season the Cards have – both on and off the field – should be chock full of it by now.
Now the question becomes whether they can take the ball and run with it with just under two months left to go and the division-leading Cubs unable to pull away. Matheny says the Cards’ ability to “just play the game” despite the circumstances should help.
“It’s a skill and it’s a learned skill that usually only comes through adversity,” Matheny said. “And hopefully the offense continues and the starting pitching continues and the bullpen…Just different pieces right now that guys are improving on. It’s fun to watch.”
So…keep the confidence, take things a day at a time, take good “A-B’s” and “just keep playing the game.” Are there any cliches we can add as keys to keeping up this current momentum? You have the final word, Dexter Fowler.
“Just keep having fun,” he said.