The St. Louis Cardinals have not performed anywhere close to expectations this season and the stress is wearing on them as the struggles continue.
There are many reasons that the St. Louis Cardinals are 36-36 and in fourth place in the National League Central, most notably injuries, but that they are at this point this late into the regular season feels like a failure.
Indeed, the Cardinals are feeling frustrations internally. There is pressure on the front office to correct the ship, especially after entering the season with World Series expectations after acquiring Nolan Arenado. But there is also pressure in the clubhouse, with president of baseball operations John Mozeliak telling Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that there is “compounding stress” on the players after so many injuries and losing at such a frequent rate.
“The days you pitch, you don’t hit,” Mozeliak said. “The days you hit, you don’t pitch. Then some flawed defense. Where we are — the health question isn’t going away anytime soon, unfortunately. We are at a little bit of a stress point right now.”
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Hence the outside pressure to acquire an impact starting pitcher or another bat to pair with Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt. But the answers, for the most part, will come internally. Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas should return by mid-to-late August. Harrison Bader is making some progress in his return from a rib injury. But to turn this ship around, the Cardinals will need the offense to step up — they currently are the worst team in baseball at getting on base — and for the starting pitching to pitch deeper into games.
There was some hope that a rainout on Saturday could allow the Cardinals players to take a deep breath and start fresh. At first, it looked that way when they beat the Atlanta Braves 9-1 in the first game, only to be almost no-hit by Drew Smyly in a 1-0 loss in the second game.
There is every reason to believe that the Cardinals will turn their season around, but there is no evidence that it’s coming anytime soon, which only makes the trade deadline that much more complicated for Mozeliak, the front office and manager Mike Shildt’s coaching staff.