A good, bad, and ugly look into the Cardinals first half

It's been an ugly start to a Cardinals' season with high expectations
Oliver Marmol
Oliver Marmol / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
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Ugly: Communication

Communication from Marmol has been so ugly this season.

From the issues with Tyler O'Neill's perceived lack of frustration to Willson Contreras not catching the pitching staff up to legendary Yadier Molina standards. Simple one on one communication, not through the media, helped issues with Conteras and the pitching staff get on the same page. Then there is demoting top-prospect Jordan Walker to work on his launch angle. While he didn't change his approach, the issue got in his head, as you can see him pressing. Most recently, media members were told Adam Wainwright had no health concerns.

After his last start, the media learned that Wainwright's been dealing with issues for a while and would be on the injured list with shoulder issues. It's not shocking, but the lack of honesty about the issue of Wainwright's health makes you wonder what else they aren't forthcoming.

Communication is part of the game of baseball. Marmol and the Cardinals have been going about it in the most frustrating way this season. Hopefully, Marmol took the break to reflect on better communicating with his players. It could be a big part of how the team has struggled this season as they wonder what's next. 

Ugly: Pitching coach Dusty Blake

The issue of communication involving the pitching staff and Contreras seemed to be compounded by the team's rookie pitching coach, Dusty Blake. He was a pitching analyst in the Cardinals organization last season. Mike Maddux decided against returning to the Cardinals, staying closer to home with the Texas Rangers. Instead of getting a proven pitching coach that could have helped with the many issues the club has faced, they opted for a coach whose only experience came at the lower-level collegiate level.

Blake does have a good handle on explaining the analytics compiled for the pitching staff, and many of the pitchers have expressed appreciation to him for help in that area. It seems to be the real-time, in-game situations he discusses with Marmol that complicate matters. Both men have been described as being adept at explaining points. It seems there is an issue with the application.

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It's not likely that a change will be made with Blake, but hopefully, he grows from this situation and is all the better.

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