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St. Louis Cardinals: Jose Oquendo is Missed

Cardinals 4/23

The Cardinals have missed their Secret Weapon dearly so far this season.

Jose Oquendo is the longest tenured third base coach in the game. There is a good reason for that: he is good at what he does. He is in charge of defensive positioning, teaching the basics of the infield, and sending people from third to home when the game is on the line. He excels at all of these for the Cardinals.

He is also a leader on this team who has seen it all and been here through the good times and the bad times. In spring training, it was announced that he would not be with the team this season due to a knee injury and his belief that when he is with the team, he needs to be with them 100%.

So far this season, he has been missed dearly and the play on the field is becoming indicative of it.

In 2015, the Cardinals ball club only made 96 errors over the course of 162 games. They were in the middle of the pack in the department relative to the rest of the league. This season however, the Cardinals have committed 16 errors through 16 games. That is roughly 16% of their errors they committed last year in only 10% of the total games.

This is a big difference. Now, one could argue that the introduction of Aledmys Diaz has helped offensively but hindered defensively. But this goes for all players from Matt Carpenter to Kolten Wong to the revolving door we have playing 1st.

The main difference from last year to this year is the absence of Oquendo. It just doesn’t feel like the same team so far and he is a very large part of that.

One other issue that has arisen from this is the faults on the base paths. Just talking about the past 3 games, there have been some clumsy outs while running the bases. The main two are the pick off of Matt Adams in game 2 of the Cubs series and the play at the plate concerning Diaz last night.

If Oquendo is at third, he does not tell Adams, who is not the fleetest of foot, to double steal in the 2nd inning. Players don’t decide whether or not to put on a double steal. That comes from the coaches. There was no reason to do so. 2 on no out with your hottest hitter at the plate in Yadier Molina, who subsequently blistered a RBI triple off the top of the outfield wall, is the perfect situation for a rally. Oquendo does not make that mistake.

With Diaz, it is harder to blame the coaching staff but if Oquendo is there, I doubt that he encourages Diaz to take the base simply due to his read of the errant throw.

With all of this in mind, we at Cardsblog wish the Secret Weapon a quick recovery.

-Hope You Enjoyed

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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