The league has reached that point of the season where starting pitchers are skipping starts. Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright goes on Saturday against the Philadelphia Phillies, after missing his scheduled start last Monday night versus the Mets. Carlos Martinez and Nick Greenwood, mainly, took care of duties as the Cardinals won, 6-2.
The St. Louis Cardinals announced on Thursday that Michael Wacha will skip his upcoming start. At the moment, it’s likely that Carlos Martinez would get that start.
The starting pitching, which has been generally tremendous for most of the last month, will have to lead the way for a club whose offense appears stagnant and one-dimensional. Matt Carpenter doesn’t pose a threat on the base paths. Jon Jay has no power. Matt Holliday, and Allen Craig, don’t get the ball out of the infield very much. Matt Adams doesn’t walk. Yadier Molina seems uninterested in free passes. The shortstop, Jhonny Peralta, disappears two out of three games at the plate. Kolten Wong hasn’t been the same since he hurt his shoulder diving for a popup.
None of it adds up to enough, for this edition of the team. They play “old”. Perhaps they’re tired. Options appear to be few. Make a trade? For whom? Who goes away? What happened to these guys?
What the St. Louis Cardinals might be able to count on is their pitching. They started the season without Jaime Garcia. Then Joe Kelly went down. Tyler Lyons plugged that hole admirably until the return of Garcia, who has been very good.
But Garcia could get hurt at any time. Wainwright and Wacha are tender-armed, right now. Shelby Miller had great difficulty with the Phillies’ left-handed bats. The fact is, however, that this group has performed at an elite level, while the offense languishes near the basement in important categories, such as runs and home runs.
Barring a blockbuster trade, such as for a Mike Stanton, this offensive unit will continue to flounder. Their best hitters are not playing at star level, and there’s no one within ready to take their places. The reinforcements they’ve auditioned from Memphis, Randal Grichuk and Oscar Taveras, were found wanting.
In essence, the St. Louis Cardinals believed they entered 2014 with most of what they had in 2013, in concert with improved defense and possibly more power. The defense is unquestionably better. The attack is much worse. For once, it’s not clear what John Mozeliak could do to change the dynamic when the Cardinals are at bat.