The St. Louis Cardinals completed their first sweep of 2017 against the Pirates on Wednesday afternoon.
Have the tides turned? The Pittsburgh Pirates went blaring into Wrigley Field and swept the media darling Cubs only to arrive flying high into Busch Stadium. What looked to be a sure-fire sweep of the limping St. Louis Cardinals proved to be the exact opposite with the Cards being the victors.
Three games were played from Monday to Wednesday with the winning run being decided by only one greater home plate pass than the other team, namely that the St. Louis Cardinals scored two runs in each game this week while holding the Pirates to only one run. Each game finished as 2-1.
Let me start by saying that I am sitting here joyfully eating a dose of crow. I did predict that the Pirates would sweep through Busch and hand the Cardinals their second sweep of the season. I will gladly own that prediction and say how glad I am that I was wrong. If you’d like to read why I felt that the Cards would be swept, then jump over here and read it.
That said, the dead offense that had lead me to believe that the Cardinals would be swept really didn’t come to life in this series. Scoring a miserable six runs across three games ain’t a postseason team in the making.
Yes, there were positives taken from the series. One of the biggest is the continued hit streak for Jose Martinez. The dude just won’t stop hitting. Unfortunately they often come with no one on base.
Yes, the pitching was great this week. It not for the pitching, the sweep would not have happened. But wait, by pitching I am indicating the starters who showed up this week. Lance Lynn and Mike Leake and Michael Wacha all deeply desired wins and they each earned their own “W.”
To this point, Lynn allowed no earned runs across seven innings. Leake allowed only one earned run across 6.1 innings. Wacha allowed one earned run across 6.2 innings.
Yes, there were plenty of frustrations taken from this series in addition to the offense. Some being the running errors and the fielding errors. But, to me, the greatest frustration is our lacking offense.
These Pop-Eye players on our roster should be better. Let’s take a look at the lineup.
Dexter Fowler has been in a slump coming out of the gate. Prior to today’s game, so not counting the two home runs today, he was sitting with a slash of .143/.226/.196. This is tough for a lead-off batter and the Cardinals need better.
Aledmys Diaz hasn’t fared much better either. Prior to today’s game he was sitting with a slash of .214/.214/.429.
Matt Carpenter has started to come around but his numbers are still low especially for a guy hitting from the three spot. Prior to today’s game his slash was a mere .222/.362/.306.
Stephen Piscotty– who we can also admit is starting to come around- was sitting with a slash of .237/.356/.421.
Can we all admit that these guys need more spinach?
At the back end of the lineup, guys like Yadier Molina are batting .211, Jhonny Peralta is batting .120, Kolten Wong is batting .188, and Randal Grichuk is batting .200. These aren’t intimidating numbers to any opposing pitchers.
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When they do play, backup players like Greg Garcia, Eric Fryer, Jose Martinez, and Jedd Gyorko contribute but never seem to have enough time to get their motors going either. Prior to today’s game, these guys sat with averages of .278, .182, .444, and .241 respectively. The upper 200s and certainly the amazing .444 deserves to stay in the lineup and that seems to be the thinking.
Can we pause for a moment and praise the offensive showing of Jose Martinez? Through eighteen at-bats, this dude has managed to amass eight hits (two doubles), two RBI, two walks, and two strikeouts. His total slash is .444/.500/.556.
Martinez aside, the birds on the bat must find their offensive ways. The Cardinals are dead last in the MLB in batting average, third-to-last in OBP, and dead last in slugging. These numbers definitely tell the tale.
Is there a change necessary or is patience the key? At this point, seeing Fowler wake up and others start to come around, I think that patience is important. Ask me this question again at the end of May.
In the meantime, let’s find some fresh spinach from Schnucks and make sure the boys wearing the birds have some healthy portions before the next game! Thanks for reading and GO CARDINALS!