A weekly Power Ranking of Cardinal position players and pitchers.
The Cardinals finished the week at an even 3-3. After winning two out of three against the San Francisco Giants, the Cardinals dropped the final two games in the three game series against the Miami Marlins.
Carlos Martinez drove in more RBI’s than Mark Ellis did this week. That’s really all that needs to be said about Ellis who will most likely go back to his bench role now that Kolten Wong has recovered from his injury. While Ellis has continued to play his steady defense, his spot in the order has become a glaring black hole where quality at-bats go to die as he hit only .167 this week.
While understandable, it appears that the young Marco Gonzales is going to need more time in the minors before he’s ready to become a solid big league starter. In his two starts this week, the rookie was touched for six runs in nine innings of work and was charged with two losses. Gonzales was thrust into the starting rotation due to injuries to Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia and has been roughed up in every game he has started. Help should be on the way though as Joe Kelly seems close to returning to the majors after dealing with a hamstring injury. Gonzales has the stuff to be a stud in the majors but we’re a ways away from seeing that.
Despite earning two saves, Trevor Rosenthal was shaky this week, particularly against the Marlins. Overall, Rosenthal gave up four runs and six hits while blowing one save opportunity on Saturday in a game the Cardinals would eventually lose. Rosenthal also nearly blew a three run lead on Friday but got an inning ending double play to secure the Cardinals only win in the series. Hopefully this is just a bump in the road for Rosenthal who has been lights out for most of the year.
It seems that the waiting game for Oscar Taveras is over and he will finally see more at bats at the big league level. Even though Taveras only hit .167 in 18 at-bats this week, he had two RBIs. While two RBIs are admittedly low, it would actually make Taveras tied for second in the weekly RBI count. The Cardinals need offense like humans need oxygen to survive and that’s not an understatement. Starting Taveras at center field every day is a good way to start.
5. Matt Adams
Matt Adams continues to thrive offensively as he hit .364 throughout the week. Adams was also the lone bright spot from Sunday’s loss to the Marlins as he tacked on four of the team’s ten hits. Yet, Adams is not higher on this list because of his lone RBI this week. For the Cardinals to make a real push at the N.L. Central division, they simply are going to need guys like Adams to drive in runs. One run per week is not going to do the trick.
Yadier Molina broke out of a slump by posting an average of .450 for the week. The highlight of Molina’s week came on Friday where he scorched a double to the wall, scoring Matt Holliday and giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. Yet, similar to Matt Adams, the Cardinals don’t just need hits and high averages to solve their offensive woes. The Cardinals need RBIs and Molina only had two on the week.
Is Jhonny Peralta back on steroids? Just kidding, but Peralta seriously seems to be the only player on the Cardinals roster that remembers how to hit the ball out of the park. Peralta smacked two home-runs throughout the week although they only added up to three RBIs total. While only hitting .238 on the week, Peralta at least gives the Cardinals some resemblance of a power hitter by leading the team with 13 home-runs.
What more can you say about Adam Wainwright. In a season where wins are increasingly hard to come by, Wainwright gives the Cardinals an above average chance to win each time he starts. Staring a team three game losing streak straight in the eyes, Wainwright threw 7.2 innings of scoreless baseball to help the Cardinals eke out a 2-0 win. The win was a bit unusual for Waino because he only struck out one batter when he usually strikes out 7.69 batters per nine innings. Against the Marlins, Wainwright relied on his infield by recording 18 outs and scattering around four hits. No matter how Wainwright gets it done, he gets it done and the Cardinals would not be clinging to playoff contention without the Cy-Young worthy pitching of Wainwright.
Carlos Martinez may have turned in his best start of the season against the Giants as he only allowed one run and one hit through five innings in a game that the Cardinals would easily win. There’s a reason Martinez has been referred to as “Baby Pedro” in reference to Pedro Martinez and he backed up that nickname on Thursday. Martinez painted the corners with his electric 98 mile per hour fastball and then fooled hitters with his devastating slider. A big moment in the game came in the bottom of the fifth inning where the Giants had a chance to get back in the game with the bases loaded, two-outs and Buster Posey at the plate with the Cardinals leading 5-1. Martinez struck out Posey with a nasty slider and pounded his chest like he had just emerged from the Coliseum as a victorious Gladiator.
Maybe the most important stat of Martinez’s outing was that he only walked one batter. In his previous starts, walks had plagued Martinez, driving up his pitch counts and forcing him to tip-toe around runners on base. Martinez was much more efficient against the Giants as he struck out six batters in total. By the way, Martinez also drove in two runs which would make him a candidate for the imaginary Offensive Player of the Week on this offensively challenged Cardinals team. Martinez was hands down the best performer of the week.