St. Louis Cardinals: Early July Reflections; Remain Calm
By Hunter Ives
As a vital series with the Diamondbacks has passed, I reflect on the fortunes and misfortunes early-on in July for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Tuesday nights loss to the Diamondbacks was a disappointment. While most fans have grown “numb” to the losing fiasco’s of 2018, that has not been the case for me.
A loss early in July, effects me just as much as it did two seasons ago. There is always a silver lining to anything; here is mine for the St. Louis Cardinals, ultimately.
Disclaimer: (I am not in denial— I am absolutely aware of the inconsistencies of this team, but my outlook varies.)
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All in all, the only issue that loomed large in game two from my perspective, was the pitch to “Goldy” from Jack Flaherty. It was a good pitch, but better hitting by Paul Goldschmidt.
The fire & passion showcased by Flaherty on Tuesday was a relief, & a preview of what we will see for the remainder of his career.
As mentioned by Dan McLaughlin on FSMW, there is a similarity between Jack & that of Chris Carpenter. There is an edge, & a want that is appreciated.
Stating the obvious yet again, the home plate umpire in Tuesday’s game (Bill Welke), was distasteful & disgraceful.
From the first pitch, the calls around zone were botched more often than not. Any ball remotely near the zone was called a strike with Zack Greinke on the mound.
As for Flaherty, most calls did not go in favor of the Cardinals Rookie. This in itself, did not help his cause even the least bit. Other than the HR by Goldy, & few mistakes by the Red Bird BP, there weren’t many negatives that could have been pinpointed like past games in ‘18.
Huge series at Chase Field
The series in Arizona was a huge series for the Cards. game one featured a rare barrage of doubles & extra base hits. It was a large relief to say the least, & a Jedd Gyorko home run truthfully put the icing on the cake in the win. Game two, saw what we have been seeing all season.
Specifically, the lack of productivity with RISP. Consecutive singles early did tack on two runs against the solid Greinke; however, it was not enough to overcome the DBacks. It will be intriguing to see how the Redbirds respond tonight. Losing another series was simply unacceptable.
As for game three, it appeared as a showing of the past seasons. “A huge comeback inning caps win.” Early in the game, the St. Louis Cardinals were atrocious with RISP. Then from the latter innings on, things changed.
The Cardinals come out swinging late on the 4th of July
Possibly the most significant take away from Wednesday’s game (other than another Miles Mikolas victory and another 3-run-homer by Yadier Molina), was the turnaround displayed by Tommy Pham. With 3 total RBI’s on the night, this was exactly what Pham needed to bust out of it.
In conclusion, a subtly solid start by Flaherty on Tuesday shed some light on the season. It established a sense of trust pertaining to Jack, as we know we can still count on him every time he takes the mound. (To keep his team in the game).
The lack of offense late was a crude point in game two.
As it appears the solid pitching is beginning to come around & return to true form, it is the job of the offense to attempt to stabilize a more consistent approach. When the defense is clean as well, it too helps lead the team to a victory. Inconsistency has been a large factor.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel
Paul DeJong’s looming return, will be a large factor in the key to winning. As we have already seen, the return of Molina has (at times), jump started this team’s offense. Leading the NL in HR’s by a C, Yadi has shown his irreplaceable value.
Next: St. Louis Cardinals Prospects: Fireworks in the making
Plaguing injury in ‘18, has also been a difference maker. Once the BP returns to full health, that in itself will provide a sense of stability in the long haul. Am I in denial? No. Is this the best team in the NL? No. Can they be? Yes. But my approach, is seeing the bright spots. Remain calm. This St. Louis Cardinals Team will come around, eventually.