Cards Struggle – The St. Louis Cardinals are struggling right now and have picked the worst possible time to do so, as we approach the post season. I tend to agree with Big Mac’s assessment that this team should never be shut out with the offense we’re capable of generating. But, here we are after being shutout two games in a row and only scoring one run in three games. This road trip started out a promising one as we won the series against the Cincinnati Reds and then winning the first game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Then, it turned to crap as we lost the series to the Pirates and we’re down 1 game out of three against the upstart Washington Nationals. We lost Yadier Molina for a game; Matt Carpenter for a game with an ankle injury and now stand to lose our starting shortstop for the season with an arm injury. The Redbirds room for error is getting smaller with each loss but, we still have time to turn things around and insure we’re in the postseason either by winning the NL Central outright or winning a wild card spot. Let’s hope the upcoming week is a positive one and the Cardinals get back on the winning track.
Cardinals Pitching – Our pitching staff is looking inconsistent again. Jaime Garcia had an eye popping first start after the DL; striking out ten. He didn’t get the decision but, since then, he’s been inconsistent and not pitching as well as he can nor is he getting deep into games. Lance Lynn continued with his first inning problems so, Mike Matheny moved him to the bullpen. As a result of that move, the Cards moved Joe Kelly back to the starting lineup for now and relegated Lance Lynn to the bullpen. The only starting pitchers who have stepped up their game are Kyle Lohse and Adam Wainwright. There are rumors that Chris Carpenter maybe back early from rehab this season and he would be a welcome addition.
Furcal’s Status – Raphael Furcal injured his throwing arm with what appears to be ligament damage and will most likely be done for the season. He said he heard a “pop’ when making a play last night. He ended up not being able to straighten out his arm. If he is indeed gone for the season, it will be a major blow for the Redbirds. The player to most likely replace him is Daniel Descalso. Descalso, doesn’t’ have the offense that Furcal brings out but is a reliable defensive shortstop. He will most likely be backed up by rooking Pete Kozma; the Cards are expected to call him up from Memphis. Probably just as important is Furcal’s presence in the clubhouse. And that presence will be missed as much as his bat and glove. And before I go any further, let me say that as “thin” as the Cards are right now at shortstop, the decision to part ways with Tyler Greene was still the right thing to do. He’s thriving pretty well in Houston and I, for one, wish him well. But, can you imagine the added pressure he would have on him if he were asked to fill in for Furcal under these circumstances? Remember what stress did to Khalil Green? Just sayin’…
Bright Spots – The good news amidst this gloomy blog is the fact that Lance Berkman should be back with the club after coming off a rehab assignment with Memphis. If he can get his stroke back it could be just what the Cards need to propel them into the postseason. He could pick up the offensive slack and help the Fantastic Five (Holliday, Freese, Craig, Beltran and Molina) get the Cards offense going again. Not overlooked in all of this are Carlos Beltran’s current struggles. But how long do you think that will continue? Over the last 30 days, Beltran is hitting .217 with 4 homeruns and 10 rbis and over the last 7 days, only .148 with no homeruns. This can’t last and won’t; Beltran is too good a hitter.
The other bright spot is Matt Holliday. As cold as Beltran has been; that’s how hot Holliday has been. On the way to collecting hit number 1500; over the last 7 days, he’s hitting .345, with a .586 slugging % and .931 OPS. Congrats to Matt for collecting his 1500th hit.
Thanks for reading. Have a safe and pleasant Labor Day weekend. Go Cards!