The St. Louis Cardinals are in danger of falling back in the pack in the next week and a half. They have three games left with the team who holds the best record in baseball, the San Francisco Giants. They then play home and away two-sets with the Kansas City Royals, and travel to Toronto for three games and to Tampa for two.
If the St. Louis Cardinals lose tonight’s match-up pitting Adam Wainwright against Madison Bumgarner, the club would have to win the rest of the games on the home stand to secure a winning record for the nine games. At that juncture, they’ll have to make a decision on who to bring up for games using the designated hitter, according to Derrick Goold and Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Reportedly, the player brought up will play the field most of the time in the American League parks, and players such as Holliday and Craig, and the center field duo of Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos, will be given days off or turns at DH. Will it be Oscar Taveras or Randal Grichuk? Will they ride out the short-term storm with Grichuk, a right-handed bat Matheny trusts to play center field, or will they opt to shake things up by bringing up Taveras, who might fit as the everyday right fielder?
Jaime Garcia, outside of the two home runs last night, was effective, but his velocity was down a bit from his last start. This has been his pattern before going on the disabled list. How long will he be around? The purported “lights out” duo of Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal has been mediocre. Questions swirl around the health of the closer Rosenthal.
Who does the manager like has become a local parlor game. How, and why, does Mike Matheny find a way to get Daniel Descalso to take away an at-bat from their hottest hitter, Kolten Wong, as happened in the ninth inning Thursday night?
The Cardinals have not done well in inter-league play. Rogers Centre is a hitters’ park, and they have a player in Edwin Encarnacion who just tied the American League record for home runs in May. Rogers Centre and Tropicana Field could prove to be pits for a Cardinals club that seems out of sync and unusually testy for a team four games over .500 and three games behind the Milwaukee Brewers.
As they say, there’s still plenty of time. The club appears to be better defensively, which was a goal, but less imposing with the bats, which was not. What will general manager John Mozeliak do, and how much will it matter? We’ll begin to see very soon.