When the Cardinals dropped the series against the Cubs, I didn’t think it was too big a deal. They competed in every game, and even handed a lead to the bullpen twice. Even after they dropped a series to the Reds, I wasn’t alarmed. The offense scored ten runs in the second game, but it was only the second series of the season! No reason to worry about being shut out twice by Amir Garret and Scot Feldman.
After the 2-4 homestand, they took to the road to take on the Nationals. The offense gave Adam Wainwright the lead — twice — but he couldn’t hold it. The bullpen failed to keep it close, giving up seven runs in the 8th, and the Cardinals were blown out, 14-6. The Cardinals were blown out again in game two, and I was starting to worry. They were 2-6 at the time (I miss the days of only being four games below .500) and were set to face Max Scherzer on Sunday.
Matheny probably didn’t notice they were facing a two-time Cy Young award winner. He ran out a lineup that featured Greg Garcia batting second, Adams in left field, and Fryer behind the plate.
Despite their manager stacking the deck against them, the Birds were able to pull out a win thanks to Stephen Piscotty’s five RBI’s. It was all going to be okay, I told myself. The Nationals are a good team, and surely a win over a pitcher like Scherzer would get them going.
I should have known better.
The Cardinals were easily swept by the Yankees this past weekend.
All facets contributed to the sweep. An errant throw by Wong and Molina’s inability to knock the ball down cost the Cards the first game. They couldn’t score off Sabathia, Matheny pushed Carlos too far, and it was a circus in the field in the second game. In the series finale, Adam Wainwright looked more like Kip Wells than the Uncle Charlie we are accustomed to seeing, and the Yankees pounded three balls into the right field seats. Mercifully, the umpires ruled one a triple even though it obviously would have cleared the wall.
So far this season the Cardinals are 29th in team slugging percentage, 27th in weighted runs created plus (wRC+) with a mark of 74, which is 26% below FREAKING LEAGUE AVERAGE. That’s also the exact same wRC+ as Pete Kozma had in 2011.
On defense, the Cardinals are 29th in defensive runs saved (DRS) at -13. They’re giving away more than a run per game with their inability to catch and throw the baseball, after a full offseason of harping on defense and base running. Putting Matt Adams in left field directly contradicts the plan heading into the season, and the stupidity is compounded by having Jose Martinez, who’s been raking since the Grapefruit League games began, parked on the bench.
The Cardinals pitchers aren’t picking up their teamates, either. Their 4.98 ERA is the second highest in the majors.
When you look at all three facets of the game, the Cardinals are exactly what their record says they are: one of the worst teams in baseball.
I hope they turn it around. I don’t think this is who they are. Cardinal Nation turns out 3.4 million fans every single year. DeWitt is one of the most profitable owners in baseball, and he invested almost a half a billion dollars in the team this offseason. Ownership is blessed with a billion-dollar television contract with Fox Sports Midwest because Cardinals fans tune in more than almost every other team in the league.
A team with those kinds of resources should never be this bad.
Thanks for reading.