Good, Bad and Ugly of 2022 St. Louis Cardinals season
The Ugly: The Cardinals’ inconsistency bit them, again
Throughout the 2022 season, the Cardinals had games where they were scoring so many runs it was almost embarrassing for the other team. Then, there were games when they couldn’t get a meaningful hit to start the offense.
That’s what happened in this Wild Card series against the Phillies.
The team’s top two hitters and NL MVP candidates, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, were 1-for-7 in the Wild Card game. That’s just frustrating and unacceptable.
On Friday, the Cardinals were 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left five runners on base. The team struck out seven times. On Saturday, the team was 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, leaving nine runners on base. They struck out eight times. Goldschmidt struck out three times, leaving four runners on base. Arenado struck out twice, leaving four runners on base. That’s just awful. Baseball is a challenging game, but it seems unfathomable that after months of playing tremendous baseball – they just flame out so spectacularly.
This was a similar pattern in 2020 and 2021. It was said that manager Oli Marmol understood the analytical approach enough to assist in explaining it to the players, but it appears that was still an issue.
It makes you wonder if there will be any meaningful changes in the area of hitting coach. While management is passionate about his analytical teachings, there seems to be a fundamental disconnect between hitting coach Jeff Albert and the team’s players. He may be telling the players what the analytics team wants, but he is not teaching it in a manner that the players are grasping. While it hasn’t been discussed as an issue in 2022 as much as in 2021, it’s apparent the issue is still there.
It will be curious to see if Albert was on a leash this season and if there will be repercussions for the disconnect. There were apparent issues throughout the season, and it would seem logical a teaching style change was needed for certain players to get it. Several players had to go to the minors or an outside teacher to help restore their swing. That’s just terrible.
That will be a huge question this offseason – will the Cardinals address this severe disconnect between hitting coach and players? It doesn’t seem the Cardinals can continue hoping for change while doing the same thing repeatedly.
The Cardinals must consider a significant change if they want improvement. And after this Phillies series loss, it would seem to be just the incentive to make a change.