It wasn’t too long ago that the Cardinals sat atop the NL Central division. In their last 10 games, St. Louis is 7-3, dropping their last two. Now, the red-hot Milwaukee Brewers are in first place with a half game lead over St. Louis.
So what do the Cardinals need to look out for as we progress further into the season?
The Cardinals collective team ERA is 3.60 on the season, which ranks third in MLB. So how come they’ve only won 55% of their games?
It’s hard to look past the struggles of the rotation and bullpen, when statistically it’s been one of the better pitching organizations in the league. Although,outside of Mike Leake, there hasn’t been a bright spot on the Cardinal pitching staff.
Adam Wainwright has one quality start in eight games pitched this year, while Carlos Martinez, Lance Lynn, and Michael Wacha have combined for six losses in twenty-two starts.
It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. Perhaps we’ll see Luke Weaver or Marco Gonzalez called up sooner than later.
Outside of Jedd Gyorko, no every-day Cardinal infielder is batting over .275. The problem is, no reserves have proven to play consistently yet.
Greg Garcia, Jose Martinez, and Matt Adams have been given some playing time, but have not played at the level needed to earn them starting roles.
Cardinal infield prospects in the minors are too young to call up this season, so St. Louis will have to figure things out with what they’ve got.
Magneuris Sierra tied a Cardinal record for most consecutive hits to start a career with seven. He’s batting .367 and has shown his speed on both the base path and in the outfield. Despite these strong numbers, he’s likely to be sent down by the week’s end to make space for Stephen Piscotty’s return from the DL.
The Cardinals are left with Randal Grichuk, batting .239, Piscotty, batting .241, and Dexter Fowler, batting .229. The one positive is Tommy Pham batting .326 on the season, but when Piscotty returns, he won’t see nearly as much playing time as he is now.
Mike Matheny has managed the Cardinals to 482 career wins during his time as coach. However, he has made more than his fair share of questionable calls when it comes to lineups, bullpen, etc.
The Cardinals organization loves Matheny, so he won’t be leaving anytime soon. You can’t help but wonder for how much longer, though.
The five top-rated prospects for the Cardinals all rank within the top 100 on MLB Pipeline. Unfortunately, top-ranked prospect, Alex Reyes, is injured. Delvin Perez is also only eighteen and Carson Kelly will have to wait until Yadier Molina calls it quits before getting his shot.
That leaves a starting pitcher in Luke Weaver and an outfielder in Harrison Bader as potential call-ups for St. Louis during the remainder of the season.
Guys outside of the top five like Sierra, Sandy Alcantara, and Jack Flaherty could prove to make immediate impacts if given the chance to play.
Grant Washburn contributed to the St. Louis Cardinals report