Jul 23, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (4) looks on before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Busch Stadium. Image Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Cardinals have 36 Games left

There are 36 games left in the season for the St. Louis Cardinals. That is three dozen games in which the Cardinals must make a push to win the National League Central outright rather than deal with a play-in Wild Card game.

To do this, the Cardinals have got to play smart baseball down the stretch. No more wasted appearances from those in the Cardinals bullpen. Carlos Martinez has got to have control of the ball when he comes out of the pen. So does Trevor Rosenthal. What the Cardinals got out of Rosenthal on Wednesday night in the ninth inning was exactly what they needed from him at the time but Martinez was the one who allowed the Reds to get back in the game with three runs.

Yadier Molina needs to be ready to go when he next appears in a Cardinals game. When Molina is behind the plate, the Cardinals have a 3.26 ERA. Molina has thrown out 49% of base stealers when he’s calling the shots. The same cannot be said for his catching replacements. Tony Cruz, A.J. Pierzynski and George Kottaras have all combined for 18 percent thrown out.

Before Michael Wacha was shut down with a stress reaction in his shoulder, he had a 2.79 ERA in 15 starts this season. When will he come back and what kind of pitcher will he be?

Adam Wainwright, while the best pitcher on the staff, isn’t free from criticism either. Before the All-Star Break, Wainwright had posted a 1.83 ERA while limiting opponents to a .201 batting average. Since the break, Wainwright has a 4.50 ERA with opponents hitting .275 against him.

Oscar Taveras hasn’t been the hitter in the Majors that he was in the mino leagues. This has to change sooner rather than klater!

As Derrick Goold notes, Ferguson played a huge role in shaping the Cardinals identity.

Tags: Adam Wainwright Oscar Taveras St Louis Cardinals Trevor Rosenthal Yadier Molina

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