In their last 20 games (5-15), the St. Louis Cardinals’ offense has been awful. In that span, their team average is third-worse in baseball at .224. Only the Phillies and Padres have been worse. They aren’t making up for it with power, either. They’ve hit only 16 home runs, and only the Giants have hit fewer in that span. All told, they’ve scored the fewest runs in baseball (61) since taking two of three from the Cubs in mid-May.
The offensive plummet has been mildly surprising. After an extremely slow start, Mozeliak’s OBP-centric approach was working. For a month, (April 17th through May 14th) the Cardinals offense was best in baseball. They led the National League in average (.280), and were second in wOBA (.347, trailing only the hard-hitting Nationals and Yankees), on-base percentage.
Jedd Gyorko, Matt Carpenter, and Dexter Fowler were all among the league leaders in wRC+. Slugger-in-waiting Randal Grichuk hadn’t heated up yet, and Stephen Piscotty was set to return from a stint on the disabled list. It appeared the Cardinals’ offense would only get better.
Obviously, they didn’t.
Carpenter and Fowler have been awful in recent weeks, and it turns out Jedd Gyorko can only carry the Cardinals for so. Grichuk struggled so bad, Mozeliak demoted him all the way down to High-A in order to reboot his approach.
Since the starting pitching regressed (like I said it would!), things have gotten comically bad. A sweep at the hands of the Cubs was bad enough, but they outdid themselves by allowing four home runs to Scooter Gennet Tuesday night.
Luckily for the Cardinals, neither the Cubs or Brewers have pulled the plug on their 2017 season. Mediocrity reigns in the NL Central, and the Cardinals remain just 3.5 games out of first, despite being four games under .500. While it’s easy to think the current Cardinal hitters simply can’t get it done, they’ve proven that they can.
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