Who Hit the Snooze Button on the Cardinals’ Offense?


It’s been brutal watching the Cardinals’ hitters at the plate in this World Series.  How they have managed to win even 2 games is a head scratcher.   The fair minded part of me wants to just credit the Boston pitchers and be done with it.  Lester has been very good and Lackey and Peavy exceeded my expectations for them.  But Game 4 against Buchholz was the one that convinced me that there was more to the demise of the Cardinals’ offense than good Boston pitchers.  Buchholz was not good.  He was tossing gopher balls up there that even bad major league hitters should be able to massacre.  The strike zone in that game did kind of resemble a gun range target from a one-eyed man.  Just get it within a foot or so of the bullseye and we’ll give it to you, son.

Oct 28, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter (13) reacts after striking out against the Boston Red Sox in the 9th inning during game five of the MLB baseball World Series at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t like making excuses, so I will lay off the strike zone.  Good major league hitters should adjust to hinky strike zones.  I can’t completely credit good pitching or complain about strike zones because the Cardinals’ offense has done this before.  Many times.  Many frustrating, toss-small-hard-objects-at-the-TV times.  Most sabermetricians would probably tell you that this frequent somnambulating offense is just a result of old fashioned randomness.  Maybe they are right; I’m not the type to challenge science.  I wasn’t particularly good at it, but I respect it.  If it is just randomness, then Mr. Random picked a poor week to stop sniffing glue.

But what if there is more to it than just randomness?  The frequency and severity of the offensive vacations is the only thing that gives me the tiniest bit of pause.  It hasn’t been just a regular ebb and flow that you would expect in the normal course of the season, at least in my perception.   It has been periods of complete and total insentience–like the baseball equivalent of a Walking Dead episode.  It’s almost as if not hitting were a virus that spread throughout the lineup like a plague.  To the casual fan it wrongly appears like the team is just phoning it in and waiting for the offseason.

If it is not randomness, then what is the source?  I’m not a hitting coach nor do I attempt to be one on the internet.  I love baseball, but I couldn’t hit a baseball thrown by a trained monkey six feet in front of me.  I know hitting in major league baseball is very hard, that’s why the best hitters fail 70 percent of the time.  But the Cardinals do have hitting coaches and one thing seems certain to me—they can’t be happy with the way their offense looks right now.  If it is a failure of scouting Boston pitchers, or a failure in preparedness, or a failure to adjust, or whatever other thing it could be other than the universe hating on the Cardinals, I would suggest the hitting coaches jump on it right away.  Something has to change or come Wednesday night the Cardinals’ season will be over and a failed World Series will be looming over Cardinal Nation’s heads until the Spring.

Mr. Random needs to keep his grimy hands off the snooze button.