With very subpar pitching, the Cardinals had been able to maintain an over .500 record on the backs of their extremely explosive offense. But now, with under 50 games left in the season, where did it go?
In the opening couple months of the season the team’s starting pitching was absolutely atrocious. Not to say its good now by any stretch, but at the time it was honestly hard to watch. The situation was such a shock all of Cardinals Nation, who were used to relying on solid starting pitching to win games.
Luckily, the Cardinal’s offense was spectacular. They lead the league in almost everything. The Cardinal’s bats kept the team on a winning pace, picking up the slack for their miserable pitching. In order to combat big innings from other teams, they would have big innings themselves, putting the game out of reach. Although slipping off a big before the the All-Star Break, the Cardinals were sixth in the league in average at .261 approaching the break.
But in the second half of the season, things apparently changed. Since the All-Star Break, the team’s batting average is .236, which is good for fifth worst in the league. And non-coincidentally, since the break the team has gone a mere 14-14. At the beginning of the season, when the Cardinals won it always seemed that they won by a lot and lot of runs. Now, when the Cardinal’s win, it only seems to be by a few runs. What happened to the teams offense?
Well first, they became plagued by injury. A five-week DL assignment for Matt Carpenter entering the All-Star Break marked the team’s biggest injury so far. Having the best hitter on the team forced on the bench for five-weeks is not something any team wants, and unfortunately two other hot Cardinal players, Brandon Moss and Matt Adams, were forced to be placed on the DL at the same time. Luckily, the teams pitching improved and they were able to carry the team through some much needed wins.
At one point during this time the team improved to nine games over .500. But whats happened since hasn’t been so pretty; almost every player has been slumping since. An over 30 point dip in batting average since the break means that pretty significant decline has occurred in almost every player. Stephen Piscotty has started to slump; his near .300 batting average has fallen to a .276. Matt Holliday, before breaking his thumb a few nights ago, was batting a pathetic .241. Jhonny Peralta, a huge presence on the team’s offense a year ago, now only bats .246. And even though the team had the most home-runs of any National League team since the all-star break (40), they are only eighth in runs scored.
The Cardinal’s average offense has not been enough to make up for their sub-par pitching.
In the first half, the team racked up wins with their offense. Now that it has settled down, the team finds itself in a bad place, greeted by mediocrity. Whether a wave of bad luck hit the Cardinal’s offense, or the plague of injury rooted its evil into the team’s lumber, the Cardinal’s offense has not been pretty. Coupled with a not so pretty starting rotation, and a downright ugly bullpen, skepticism surrounding this St. Louis team is at an all time high.
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