The Cardinals lost a tough game on Sunday afternoon to the Chicago Cubs. The Cincinnati Reds have ten games in a row, and the Cards now sit 3.5 games back of the wild card.
The biggest factor as to why the Cards are not gaining ground though is their inability to hit with runners in scoring position. In the month of July, the Cards are hitting .228 with runners in scoring position and .292 without runners in scoring position. In their 9 road games since the break, they are 9-for-66 (.136) and are 2-7 in those games, and all 7 losses were decided by one or two runs.
This is as good of a lineup as there is in the National League, there’s no doubt. But the Cards will not make the playoffs if they can’t drive in runners when in scoring position. The Cards have the best run differential in the Majors (+94), yet they have the 12th best record. How is that possible?
When you compare a team like the Cardinals to let’s say, the New York Mets, it’s pretty fascinating that these two teams had such similar records heading into the All-Star break. The Mets, despite a below-average lineup at best, led the Majors in two-out runs for the first half of the season, which just goes to show you that you can have as good of a lineup as there is, but if you can’t hit with runners in scoring position, you simply won’t win.
The Cardinals have the day off on Monday as they head to Colorado. Obviously they have struggled on the road thus far in this second half, but maybe the friendly confines of a stadium like Coors Field will allow this lineup to come through in the clutch a bit more and provide them with a little bit more confidence to carry them through the rest of the way.