Found August 22, 2013 on
At the All-Star break, when the St. Louis Cardinals had the best record in baseball, their offense was the best in the league in a number of categories. The most impressive stat their offense held was their incredible conversion rate of driving runners in scoring position in to score. Their other-worldly batting average with runners in scoring position at the time even raised speculation if the offense was overachieving and therefore likely to regress. The fear of their clutch hitting slipping, coupled with their low home run rate raised concerns about this team’s sustainability for this season.
Indeed the offensive production has declined, as the Cardinals were averaging 4.97 runs per game before the All-Star break, and only 4.61 runs since. Just as the offense was coming back to earth, the starting pitching also began to falter and this has lead to the Cardinals’ lackluster record after the break (16 wins and 17 losses). Their average with runners in scoring position has indeed dropped a bit, but their overall average has as well, and a team’s average with runners in scoring position does not matter if baserunners rarely make it that far. According to baseballreference.com the Cards were hitting .276 before the break and have hit just .260 since.
Normally a team with the star power of the Cardinals could soften the blow of a slump by smacking a few homers to keep their offense honest. But strangely this Cardinals team has never really been threatening with the long ball like they should be. According to teamrankings.com, only two teams in the National League, the Giants and the Marlins, have more at bats between home runs than the Cardinals, and both of those teams have struggled with offense all season. The power outage in David Freese’s bat has been especially disappointing. Freese had 20 home runs last year, and currently he sits at six for this season. Additionally, the Cardinals have grounded into more double plays than any other team in the league, although that rate has gone down since the All-Star break according to teamrankings.com. That combination of a low home run rate, and a high double play rate is obviously disturbing.
Much of the Cardinals recent struggles can be attributed to Yadier Molina’s stint on the disabled list earlier this month. Tony Cruz did an admirable job trying to replace Yadi behind the plate, but there is no denying the offensive drop off between the two. Equipped with a full and relatively healthy lineup again, perhaps the Redbirds will regain their winning clout.
As the season has progressed, it has become obvious that the Cardinals’ starting pitching is not the strength that it may have appeared to be earlier in the season. If this team is going to be successful, they are ultimately going to need to outscore opponents and rely on a solid bullpen. All season long, there has been pressure on the Cards’ clutch, situational hitting, and they could make it easier on themselves by connecting for more home runs, something their lineup should be very capable of doing.
BEST OF MAXIM
The David Freese/Kolten Wong debate has been brewing for months for the Cardinals. Ever since Freese got off to a slow start, hitting just .163 in April and Wong turned on the heat with a .375/.420/.615 line in May for AAA Memphis.
Last week the Cardinals finally promoted their second baseman of the future, which left the future for Freese in question.
The immediate impact...
ST. LOUIS -- Left-hander Tyler Lyons will start Monday against the Reds, Carlos Martinez has returned from the minors to work out of the bullpen and Jake Westbrook has gone on the disabled list because of back stiffness.
Oh yeah, Edward Mujica says the soreness in his back right shoulder is better but not good enough for him to pitch Friday night when the Cardinals play host to...
ST. LOUIS -- They will welcome Kolten Wong to his new home tonight.
It will be a powerful display, this first meeting between a fan base that fancies itself the best in baseball and its second baseman of the foreseeable future.
But while the sound of tens of thousands of hands clapping all at once will force anyone with firing synapses to realize this moment is special, it will...
ST. LOUIS -- No Mujica? No problem. Not for the Cardinals and their kiddie corps of fireballers.
With closer Edward Mujica unavailable because of tightness in the back of his shoulder, manager Mike Matheny turned to a trio of rookies to preserve six innings of strong work by starter Joe Kelly Thursday night.
Each of the youngsters handled their inning with no problems. Kevin...
St. Louis Cardinals fans have grown very sick of seeing Jake Westbrook go out and perform poorly. The veteran sinker-baller, after posting a 2.88 ERA and a 5-4 record prior to the All-star game, is just 2-4 since with an eye-popping 7.53 ERA since.
Westbrook has been really bad, obviously, of late, particularly in August. His 11.02 ERA and .368 batting average against entering Wednesday’s...
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Joe Kelly is exactly where he wants to be in life. We know this because the the 25-year-old wrote an essay in elementary school that predicted his future. As of now, he’s right on schedule. Earlier this summer, Kelly shared a photo of the essay he wrote when he was […]
ST. LOUIS -- Joe Kelly pitched six effective innings, Matt Holliday broke out of a slump with two doubles and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Atlanta Braves 6-2 on Thursday night.
David Freese drove in two runs as St. Louis won for the fifth time in six games.
The Braves played without Jason Heyward, who is out with a broken right jaw after he was beaned during Wednesday's...
After collecting his first big-league hit Monday night in his 11th at-bat, Kolten Wong admitted a great sense of relief.
He played like a man with no weight on his shoulders Tuesday night. Moved up to second in the batting order as Mike Matheny rested Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig, Wong had three more hits in the Cardinals' 6-3 loss at Milwaukee.
The rookie second baseman...
St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Yoenny Gonzalez has been suspended for 50 games for an unspecified violation of baseball's minor league drug program.
The 21-year-old, selected from Central Florida Community College in the eighth round of the 2012 amateur draft, was hitting .192 with no homers and 10 RBIs in 104 at-bats this season with Johnson City of the rookie level Appalachian...
ST. LOUIS (AP) Mike Shannon, the former St. Louis Cardinals third baseman who has been a broadcaster for the team for more than 40 years, is recovering after heart surgery.
The Cardinals said Wednesday that Shannon, 74, is resting comfortably. The team said he had successful surgery Monday to replace his aorta valve.
"I would like to thank everyone for their prayers, heartfelt...
The Baby Birds finished Thursday with a 5-2 record as Memphis, Springfield, Palm Beach, State College, and Johnson City all won. Peoria and the GCL Cards were on the losing end. 2013 second round pick Oscar Mercado (pictured) hit his first professional home run in the GCL Cards loss.
Here are quick game summaries followed by the official box score of each game:
Memphis rallies to...
After winning their third straight series and closing out a six game road trip at 4-2, the St. Louis Cardinals head back home for a seven game home-stand with four games against Atlanta and three games with Cincinnati.
With 36 games remaining in the regular season, the pennant chase is really heating up as teams start to scoreboard watch. Cardinals have 22 home games left and 14...
Hot News for P Jake Westbrook
The St. Louis Cardinals use a radar system designed for golf to study everything about a pitcher’s delivery.
Kyle Lohse finally beat the St. Louis Cardinals, and the win didn't come that easily.
Lohse beat the Cardinals in his fourth try this season and Sean Halton knocked in a career-high three runs to help the Milwaukee Brewers beat St. Louis 6-3 Tuesday night.
''They made me work for it,'' he said after improving to 3-5 in nine outings overall against his former...