Before We Move On to the Braves, Let’s Take One Last Look Back at the Pirates Series

I get it. At this point, you’re probably sick and tired of reading about the Cardinals getting swept by the Pirates. Yes, it was a disappointing series. Yeah, it was¬†a little concerning how badly the Cardinals were beat. At this point, you’re probably wondering if you should hit the panic button. Well, trust me. Don’t. It is simply too early. We are only 3 games into the season. You simply can’t give up yet.

Looking back on the Pirates series, not everything that the Cardinals did was bad. Yes, most of it was bad and, yes, it was hard to watch the Cardinals strike out so many times, but check out my key numbers for the series below. There might be more reason than not to keep believing in this team:

2: That is the number of hits given up this series by the pitchers in the bullpen not named Seth Maness. In 9 and 1/3 innings, Seung-Hwan Oh, Matt Bowman (made his debut this week), Jonathan Broxton, Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, and Tyler Lyons combined to give up only 2 hits. The bullpen was one of the few bright spots in the series and they were absolutely dominate. Definitely encouraging to see.

10: That is the number of walks the Cardinals drew in a 3-game series, good for 7th in the league right now. The offense look very stagnant at times this season. However, this is a very encouraging statistic. This number means that the Cardinals are being selective with their pitches and making a concerted effort to find a way to get on base by any means possible.

.119: That is the combined batting percentage¬†of Matt Carpenter, Randal Grichuk, Matt Holliday, and Stephen Piscotty. Yep, they went 5 for 42. Not good. Looking at this number is a glass half full glass half empty situation. The pessimist would see this and say that the Cardinals go 0-162 this year. A die-hard Cardinals fan (the optimist) would say the hitters on this team just had a bad series. Plain and simple. The Cardinals never hit well against lefties.¬†This was probably rock bottom for these 4 hitters. Let’s move on and let’s hope it doesn’t reach this low again.

7: That is the number of players on the disabled list. 7! Yeah, thats a huge number. Other teams around the league may be dealing with injuries too, but let’s look at who the Cardinals are missing. Tommy Pham, the Opening Day starter, out for a month most likely. Lance Lynn, a top-3 in the rotation worthy pitcher, out for the year. Brayan Pena, the backup catcher, out for a month most likely. Jhonny Peralta, one of the best hitters on this team and the starting shortstop, out until at least the All-Star Break. Ruben Tejada, the guy signed to replace Peralta, out for a couple weeks. Jordan Walden, a projected key member of this bullpen, out for a couple months. Not pretty. Sure, injuries are a part of the game. However, the Cardinal’s had to send out a couple sub-par batting lineups in response to these injuries.

The Cardinals are the type of team that need their backs pinned to the wall to figure themselves out. That is what winning teams do.¬†Some people may criticize the age of the Cardinal’s core. Well, with this rough start, that age and experience may be more of a blessing than a curse. Trust me, they will figure it out. They’re not going 0-162. Things will be okay. We’ll likely look back on this article in a couple months chuckling at this Chicken Little ‘The sky is falling! The sky is falling’ panic.

If you need more reason to calm down, the Cardinals play the Braves and the Brewers for the next 6 games. If they are 0-9 at the end of these series, then, by all means, freak out.