Friday afternoon handed yet another disappointing- albeit embarrassing this time- loss for the St. Louis Cardinals season and this time at the hands of the media-darling Chicago Cubs.
A warning to my readers: I am angry and frustrated and disappointed and disgruntled and disgusted and furious and saddened and confused and… all about this year’s St. Louis Cardinals. Friday’s disappointment came against the already-won Cubs (stated this way since the media has figuratively handed them the World Series crown already).
Is it fair to be frustrated with the St. Louis Cardinals? H*ll yes it is! I get it, I know that teams are going to have ebbs and flows of winning seasons, but I’m less frustrated with the actual losses and more angry about the manner in which the losses have arrived: lackluster, inconsistent performance led by an apparently inept manager.
I have, this season, written a few times of my sincere distrust in Mike Matheny‘s managerial decisions for the St. Louis Cardinals. I have, this season, attempted significantly to stay above the scuttlebutt but enough is enough. Something must change. Period.
Let me restate that: something must change.
Here’s why (as though you loyal readers need this recap): examining Friday’s game as a microcosm of the season, it shows that the St. Louis Cardinals went 6 for 35 at the plate for a miserable .171 batting average. In Friday’s game, the Birds were able to muster only two runs and those came from the too-often relied upon home run ball.
To add insult to injury, the following players are occupying the disabled list: Matt Adams, Aledmys Diaz, Marco Gonzales, Mitch Harris, Matt Holliday, Lance Lynn, Tyler Lyons, Brayan Pena, Trevor Rosenthal, Michael Wacha, and Jordan Walden. For those of you keeping score, this comes to a total of seven pitchers, two infielders, one catcher, and one outfielder of considerable power.
Something must change.
To continue the insult of injury, the St. Louis Cardinals did little at the trade deadline (albeit there wasn’t too much to be done this season when examining the moves that were made; read my recap here). In light of all of these injuries, fans had hoped that GM Mozeliak would have found some solutions, yet nothing was found.
Now we, the fans and the St. Louis Cardinals, found ourselves with significant holes: the outfield is very weak with little depth (at this point) with Randal Grichuk (.220/.282/.710), Jeremy Hazelbaker (.245/.307/.779), Tommy Pham (.250/.348/.848) and Stephen Piscotty (.276/.343/.808) manning the OF spots. Piscotty is the only bright spot in this mix.
Memphis has some interesting back-up outfielders but we aren’t too likely to see the best of them until the rosters expand in September. While this isn’t that far away, the time between now and then will be crucial in the St. Louis Cardinals remaining in the mix or falling out of the mix with too much ease.
Looking at the current St. Louis Cardinals infield, we too find disastrous weaknesses forced through injuries. These injuries to Diaz and Holliday- to some extent- have forced players like Greg Garcia (who I like but who owns a .245/.370/.727 line) and Jedd Gyorko (.246/.307/.778) to become everyday players rather than the intended backup positions of their signings.
It doesn’t help that in the injury absences, Matt Carpenter has shown defensive weaknesses at second having committed eight errors at third and four errors at second on the season. In 2015, Carpenter committed fourteen errors at third and in 2014 he committed sixteen at third. Of late, he has been appearing at first and doing well so maybe this will stick.
So, to the chase, I- for one- was glad that the St. Louis Cardinals lost on Friday. Thursday night’s tough-fought loss (somewhat at the hands of the home plate umpire) was difficult but I felt that the Birds could use the frustration as a fire-starter and come out punching. This was wrong. The Cardinals essentially laid themselves on the tracks and awaited the coming train on Friday.
So, to the chase again, I- for one- was glad that the St. Louis Cardinals lost as I am hopeful that this embarrassment might force a change to come. What do I think needs changing? Much! I’d like to see the Cardinals hunt through the waiver wire and get some help.
I wouldn’t mind to see the Carlos Gomez rumors land; not much risk here and could add some MLB depth in the OF that is needed now in the Holliday absence.
I wouldn’t mind to see the St. Louis Cardinals take a risk with Jonathan Papelbon. Our pen has been very weak and this additional arm could well help.
I wouldn’t mind seeing the St. Louis Cardinals seriously consider some coaching shake-up. I know, I know that Matheny can’t take all the blame for blow-outs like the one experienced on Friday, but his decisions are certainly introducing the possibility of such events. I do, heavily, blame Matheny for the lackluster showing on Friday as he did NOT- in my opinion- fight hard enough after the loss on Thursday.
More from St Louis Cardinals News
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- St. Louis Cardinals: Ask me anything with Josh Jacobs – 12/8
- The St. Louis Cardinals sign catcher Willson Contreras
It is not okay to simply yell from the dugout at the home plate umpire after he has handed the win to the Cubs on a blown fourth-ball call that was clearly a strike. Tony LaRussa would have charged that plate and yelled and supported his players even to the point of receiving a fine. Matheny, however, yelled meekly from the dugout which- inadvertently or purposefully- gave the impression that he wasn’t surprised by the outcome. What a slap to Zach Duke…
Would the St. Louis Cardinals honestly consider a coaching shake-up? Doubtful, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do it. Jose Oquendo is severely missed and perhaps he could step in and manage if Matheny were dismissed (which won’t happen). Maybe Mike Schildt from Memphis could come up and manage if Matheny were dismissed (which won’t happen).
In short, I doubt that Mozeliak does much of anything and that infuriates me. The “Cardinal Way” is becoming one of inactivity and that- to me- is not okay. The “Cardinal Way” is becoming one of a recorded loss as a result of poor St. Louis Cardinals play, not being out-played. The “Cardinal Way” is becoming one of me turning games off within the first four innings rather than watching the entire game.
Something must change.
I’d like to believe that something will change. I’d like to believe that the players will start to care to the tune of a fight. I’d like to believe that Matheny will inspire ALL the players not just those with whom he has a bromance. Perhaps we will all get lucky and some of these things will happen…
I hate to say it, but I’m afraid that these St. Louis Cardinals are NOT post-season bound. Does this mean all is lost? If things change, then perhaps all is not lost; if things remain the same, yes, all is lost. If all is lost, perhaps it is or will be time to start handing out some DFAs…