Well, I’m sure Cardinal Nation is as frustrated, angry and upset as I am with the St. Louis Cardinals current state. Thankfully, they avoided the sweep by the Washington Nationals in winning 10-9 but, let me tell you the three things our Redbirds must do, in order to get their 12th pennant in 2012. This is just my opinion but, if they falter in any one of these “must do’s”, it will be almost impossible and improbably that they will get to the post season. I’m optimistic they can do this despite the loss of Furcal and a rookie manager at the helm.
Our offense is the first thing we must get “fixed”. I don’t have the luxury of watching the games too often and I only get to listen to maybe half of the games. But, I “watch just about every single game on gameday on my computer or smartphone. So, I miss some of the details of what transpires during a game. But, this is for certain; we CANNOT afford any more shutouts or prolonged lapses offensively. We have too much talent and too much is at stake at this time. So, if you’re wondering how a team with five hitters hitting over .300 and the likes of Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday and David Freese; can get shutout by the Pittsburgh Pirates or only score one run in 36 innings. It’s called discipline at the plate. I can only go by what Mark McGwire has alluded to but, we, as a team go through periods where we seem to constantly and consistently swing at pitches out of the strike zone. This then leads to either strikeouts or pop outs. We should know better and as a team, I don’t expect to see that kind of behavior from the aforementioned players or anyone for that matter. Maybe Big Mac should use some good old fashioned back of the head slaps when they behave carelessly at the plate. Maybe it will at least get their attention and they strive for more quality at bats. If there is one player whose performance we are missing, its Beltran.
Our pitching has to get more consistent in every phase, starting yesterday. It seems that as a team, either our starters are in a funk (like they are now), or the bullpen is in a funk. And it’s not a little funky…it’s FUNKY! They go thru periods where they are either giving up the long ball too often or there letting the other team get a lead in the early innings. I don’t expect perfection from the pitching staff as; there are too many good hitters in major league baseball. But, I do expect hitters that can barely hit their weight to have games like they’re the clone of Stan the Man or Hank Aaron. Here’s a suggestion to our pitching staff; either read the scouting reports on the opposing team or pay attention to the scouting reports. If a batter is a fast ball hitter, throw him off speed stuff or fast balls out of the strike zone. It’s pretty simple and there are times when I think they dare an opposing hitter at the worst possible time. And as a result, get burned for it and before you know it, the other team has put up two or three runs on the board. We have a quality starting rotation with the likes of Adam Wainwright and Kyle Lohse and a bullpen with a closer that throws 90mph plus. But both of the aforementioned pitchers were slammed recently and though we pulled it out today, we can’t afford that type of performance right now.
Finally, our defense needs to play almost perfect baseball starting now. We had two fielding errors today and since I didn’t watch, I can’t tell you the degree of difficulty on either play. But, one was made by Holliday and the other by Descalso; both were fielding errors. Can we please stop this now? Fielding errors are generally due to lack of concentration and focus. Let’s hope our guys can start doing more of both. I’m sure it’s not an intentional thing but, just do a better job for the couple of months. The last thing we need is hurting ourselves by playing careless baseball in the field and giving the other team extra outs.
We have time Nation; until we are mathematically done, we can still win the division or at least get to the post season. Our team has proven to show pinpoint focus during the postseason. Let’s recapture the magic we had last season and focus now on winning this and getting our 12th pennant in 2012. If you’re laughing or think it can’t be done, then, you weren’t paying attention last season.
Thanks for reading. Go Cards!