St. Louis Cardinals: Frustration is setting in for Cardinals fans
By Shane Sturtz
After I attended the 5-1 Memorial Day loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers, it was clear, the St. Louis Cardinals are not the team of old. Frustration is setting in, and the mood of Cardinals fans has shifted.
My first St. Louis Cardinals game in 2017 was boring and uneventful. The game followed a similar script to the whole season – five hits for the Redbirds, two by recently called-up Paul DeJong, three no doubt home runs by the Dodgers and an appearance from Jonathan Broxton. It couldn’t be a Cardinals loss without a Broxton appearance, right?
To cap it off, Dodgers rookie phenom Cody Bellinger hosed DeJong at the plate who was trying to score after a Corey Seager error.
For the record, I think it was right to send DeJong – force Bellinger to make the perfect throw even though he has a plus arm. Right move or not, it epitomized the St. Louis Cardinals season.
The game wasn’t all that fascinating, but it was nice to wander the streets near Busch and see the 125th anniversary montage of St. Louis Cardinals baseball. Outside of that, there wasn’t much to show for.
I’m not the only one who wasn’t entertained. Fans from many sections flooded out of Busch Stadium after the 7th inning. Disappointment, disgust, embarrassment or frustration, whatever it is, St. Louis Cardinals fans can’t tolerate much more.
The frustration level for fans is growing because Cardinals fans are so accustomed to success.
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A World Series win in 2011 thanks to the heroics of David Freese followed by three straight NL Central crowns from 2013 to 2015 created high expectations for Cardinals fans. Average months over the years were disheartening, but the Cardinals were expected to bounce back.
And they did. Winning series after series and making the playoffs has been second nature for the Cardinals and their fans.
That all changed last year, and the losing trend has carried over to this year. It’s hard to swallow.
Fans, including myself, are hoping (and praying) the Cardinals can return to their winning ways.
My mindset has changed towards the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2013, when the Cardinals last made the World Series, my attitude was something like “don’t worry, the Cardinals can make a comeback,” and now my attitude has shifted to something like, “okay, how can the Cardinals blow this lead?”
The level of confidence I have in this team is at an all-time low. There’s no star power on this team. There’s little leadership and a lot head scratching. The offense is horrific and the bullpen is laughable. There’s little to look forward to, and I’d assume you would agree with me.
Teams do have bad stretches except that’s not it for the St. Louis Cardinals. It’s the losses put together with bad baseball.
It’s Jose Martinez throwing to third base instead of splitting the diamond and keeping the runners at first and third. It’s Aledmys Diaz doing a spin move while turning a double play. It’s Matt Carpenter trying to extend a double into a triple with no outs in the last inning of a tie game. It’s sticking with Kevin Siegrist even though his velocity is down.
When the Cardinals were continuously winning games and dominating the National League Central, they could get away with small mistakes. Not anymore. These mistakes loom large now, and every play is magnified for a .500 team.
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Abysmal hitting, poor base running and the inability to hold a starter’s lead have costed the Cardinals multiple times already. All correctable mistakes, but the GM John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny seem to shrug off these mistakes.
It’s hard to know the exact mood of the clubhouse and front office. They did show their hand by sending Randal Grichuk to Single-A Palm Beach. A much-needed move that could indicate future moves.
The silver lining of this season is the NL Central is weak this year. The St. Louis Cardinals have a 24-25 record after being 3-10 in their last thirteen games yet they are somehow still in third place and only 1.5 games behind the first place Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cubs haven’t been able to duplicate their success from last year, the Brewers and Reds lack pitching and the Pirates have been snake bitten by tough losses. However you put it, the NL Central is still wide open, which makes the mediocrity of the Cardinals look a little better, but doesn’t make it okay.
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Has the sluggish start of the St. Louis Cardinals frustrated you too? Let me know your thoughts on the state of the Cardinals in the comments or on Twitter.