September 13, 2011; Pittsburgh,PA, USA: St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa (10) in the dugout against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fifth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE

The Broken Bench


Is Brock Peterson a threat beyond breaking up a double play?. Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

Now that Matt Adams is starting, the St. Louis Cardinals have a bench that is truly a joke.  It will be daunting for a Cards team without a threatening supporting cast to compete with other National League powers like the Pirates, Braves, Dodgers, or Reds in a single game or series.

While the Cards bullpen is stocked full of cannons, the bench’s talent is thinner than Imo’s crust.  The Ty Wigginton catastrophe and Oscar Taveras injury are now haunting St. Louis, who is lacking legitimate pinch hitters and position players to appear in games during this critical final chapter of the season.

Here is who the Birds have trotting off the pine:

Shane Robinson has had some sweet moments this year, but as the competition intensifies, his inability to slug (.363 less than Daniel Descalso) is not intimidating enough to opposing staffs.  Sure his .274 average is better than Big City’s, but Mini-Me’s Eckstein-ness isn’t likely to have the same effect in October.

Adron Chambers is an ideal pinch runner, but his game winning hit last month could be all he has in terms of offensive heroics.  He is 2 for 15 so far this season and has had some very bleak at bats.

Brock Peterson is a career minor leaguer who has not proven to have a handle on major league arms.  It is true that he competed in the AAA home run derby, but he is currently batting .100 this year with 8 K’s and only 1 walk.  His two doubles could be misread, but hopefully they show some potential.

Pete Kozma/Daniel Descalso have both shown that 2012′s NLDS Game 5 in D.C. was just that, a single game in October that doesn’t represent their everyday abilities.

Tony Cruz/Rob Johnson have not demonstrated much offensive production this year, however they are simply more realistic representations of backstops than Molina 3.0.

Kolten Wong started out with some infield hits, but since then he has been in a funk that has caused his average to drop below two starting pitchers (Jake Westbrook and Adam Wainwright) with only 7 total hits since being called up for his defensive skills.

 

The 2006 Cardinals had Chris Duncan, Preston Wilson, and John Rodriguez coming of the bench in the outfield.  The infield enjoyed Scott Spiezio, Ronnie Belliard and Hector Luna stepping up.

The 2011 Redbirds had Allen Craig, Jon JayNick Punto and Ryan Theriot ready to be called upon.

Perhaps 2013 will behold St. Louis’ emergence of other clutch bench players, but after examining the 40-man rosters of the past, it appears that the odds are against STL.  There is no vet who can drag out an at bat or keep up with a big-time closer.

It is just another reason why Mo’s complacency this summer could prove to be the demise of the Birdinals.

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  • Garret

    I dont think you give Shane Robinson enough credit. He’s actually batting .324 since June 1 in roughly 75 ABs. It’s his embarrassing April/May that’s really keeping the BA down. I don’t think his Eckstein-y, more Schumackery, which is just fine by me. You’re right about the rest of the bench though . . . it has not been inspiring

    • Thomas Demerath

      Shane is pretty good, but if he is our best then we may be in trouble. Thanks for the enlightening stat Garret!