St. Louis Cardinals: Rollercoaster Redbirds

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Fresh off of a 10-run, five-home run effort on Monday, the St. Louis Cardinals were shut out for the third time of the season on Tuesday night.

“All or nothing” has become the theme for the St. Louis Cardinals through the first month of the 2016 MLB regular season.

Through 27 games, the Cardinals have managed just a single run or less nine different times. Of the remaining 18 contests, the Cardinals have scored six runs or more in 13 of them.

The Cardinals have the most home runs in baseball, with 40. In sticking with the theme, though, they’ve struck out 220 times (8th worst in MLB).

As a team the Cardinals lead the league in runs batted in at 147. They are second in run differential at +40, yet sit tied for 14th in the league with just 13 wins to show for it.

“Blame the pitching” you say. That’s probably fair. I mean, the staff has looked suspect at best through pretty much all of April. They certainly aren’t doing what the 2015 group did.

But still, they’re 7th in baseball in runs allowed, after Tuesday night’s action. Certainly not among the best in baseball (yet), but still a respectable place to sit, considering how things have seemed thus far.

Although better of late, overall, the defense has been terrible. No way around that one.

I don’t have a fancy number to illustrate what impact the bad defense has had on the win/loss record. Just the general knowledge that very few teams have found themselves near the top of division/league standings while leading MLB in defensive errors.

Consistency.

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A word that is synonymous with “Cardinal baseball” (at least of the past) has eluded this ball club in every way.

I mean, the Cardinals have had five and six home run efforts already in two separate ball games this year. It felt like they went weeks at a time without hitting six home runs last year.

But, don’t forget that whole “one run or fewer” thing.

This team has been mind-numbingly vanilla at times. Enough so that even the most optimistic of fan would have to question how serious of a championship contender this ball club really is.

Then something clicks on, the ball starts flying out of the yard at an alarming rate, and you can’t help but be giddy at the fact that the Cardinals have nine different hitters projected to hit at least 18 home runs in 2016.

Most recently, I will admit that I thought that the Adam Wainwright show with the fireworks to follow from Monday night was the kick-start to really get this team going.

Then, the offense looked as lifeless as it has all year on Tuesday against Philadelphia, and a second consecutive quality start from Michael Wacha was wasted.

It just feels like this team has trouble with focus, with keeping it’s edge about it. It shows in the defense (or lack thereof) and it shows in the all or nothing feel that comes from watching them on a nightly basis.

It’s like they need somebody to do something big to boot them up, each and every night. And if that doesn’t happen, the team just stays flat.

They looked dead and disinterested before Waino’s three-run shot on Monday. We all know what happened after that.

The big play never came on Tuesday and we missed out on another very winnable ball game.

I want to see this club get back to manufacturing wins. I mean, where are all the 3-2, 2-1 wins? When’s the last time Trevor Rosenthal saved a game, at San Diego?

The starting pitching is getting better. I want to see them start running off strings of quality starts like we all know that they can.

The defense is getting better, too. I want to see them start picking it clean, all the time, like Cardinal teams always do.

The home runs are nice. But, please, can we get back to executing situational hitting like we’ve gotten used to from teams of the past?

Next: Deepest Offense in Baseball... in St. Louis?

This club has as much natural talent and depth as any team since that 2011 World Series winner. It’s time to get back to playing clean, consistent Cardinal baseball. Let’s start it off with a series winner tomorrow against the Phils.

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