St. Louis Cardinals: August Reflections; The Future is Now
By Hunter Ives
As a whole, the ability to recognize a team’s faults is blocked by an unhealthy amount of optimism. For myself personally, the scenario that this 2018 St. Louis Cardinals team has fallen victim to is one that needs evaluated quite often. This team has found themselves on the wrong end of injury and under performance.
Yes, management has made questionable moves. However in my overwhelming opinion, the future is very bright for the St. Louis Cardinals.
As I was in personal attendance for August 2nd’s day game, I witnessed two phenomenal plays by starting right fielder Tyler O’Neill. In the first inning (according to Jenifer Langosch), Tyler’s catch at the wall had a catch probability of 5%. It was ultimately “the lowest converted by a Cardinals outfielder this season.”
O’Neill covered 75 feet in 4.6 seconds, per Statcast.” As if the play to rob Nolan Arenado wasn’t enough, he made yet another stellar grab later in the game. This time, a diving catch; full extension. However since then, Tyler O’Neill has quite unfortunately found himself on the Disabled List. Regardless, he was an obvious game changer when given the moment in the spotlight.
Potentially one of the most significant turnarounds as of late for the Cardinals, involves the managerial position. As observed by nearly any fan, Mike Shildt has been increasingly more aggressive with his decisions and base running. Nearly every 3-2 count sees a running charge by the St. Louis Cardinals on the base paths.
Another aspect of change (and in a positive way), are the bullpen moves and pitching changes. In the past, Matheny was known for leaving a starter in the game for entirely too long. Instead of forcing a starter to struggle, embarrass himself, or drown in failure, Shildt instead makes the correct decisions instinctively.
To say the least, these changes are a breath of fresh air. When a manager does precisely what Shildt has done since his takeover at the manager position, he has applied pressure to every opponent.
What we can observe from this aggressive style of play by the Cardinals lately, is that it simply forces the hand of the opposing team. Pressure is of course mounted against the opponent, and it makes it more difficult for them to execute.