The All-Star Break is here and most of the Cardinal fans just aren’t very happy with what has taken place in the first part of the season. They are currently in third place in the National League Central and can’t keep up with the Brewers or the Cubs. The hovers around the .500 mark and recently lost a series to the last place Cincinnati Reds.
The Cardinals have two players going to the All-Star game in Washington, DC with Miles Mikolas (who pitched on Sunday so won’t be playing) and Yadier Molina as their representative. Several of the other players have simply had poor starts to the season. Dexter Fowler has been the slowest to go this year as everytime he gets a hit, one of the TV announcers seems to be required to mention that maybe that hit will get him going.
One of the positives come from Harrison Bader. He has made several very good plays in the outfield and has smacked for power. He is going to play in the second half even more than before. What do you think about Jose Martinez? He can’t field his position and is statistically the worst in the major leagues at his position. But boy oh boy he does put the bat on the ball and has been driving in runs. Can the Cardinals afford to dismiss his glove and just go for a bat?
Matt Carpenter has gotten into a hot streak but he was almost done. If Mike Matheny hadn’t pinch hit for him one game and woke his butt up, he might still be in a funk. Since that very game, things have gotten much better. Right now he is ok but if the organization gets a chance to trade him, then it should be done.
Tommy Pham has relied on his play this year to grab a new and more profitable contract for next season but that has backfired so far. He isn’t getting the job done on a regular basis.
The bullpen has been hot and cold but coming in on the old side for the most part while the starters are decent and holding the team together. Look for the Cardinals to dump one of their relievers at the trade deadline and grab a prospect or two.
UPDATE: Since I wrote this on Saturday Afternoon, the Cardinals have Fired Mike Matheny, Bill Mueller, and John Mabry. They have named bench coach Mike Shildt as the Interim Manager.
Written Prior to Firing:
Bench coaching and management has been poor. Manager Matheny just doesn’t understand the right time to make a move. He is always one or two steps behind. Mike Maddux has been decent as the new pitching coach but John Mabry can’t teach hitting. There are far too many games with the Cardinals end the game in double-digit strikeouts from the plate.
St. Louis Sports Personality Bernie Miklasz has recently taken to calling out the Cardinals management on how things are being done in the clubhouse. Matheny has Norris snitching on the bullpen. Rookie Jordan Hicks has received the brunt of that. Why would Hicks want to be part of that? Fowler and Matheny don’t talk to each other much due to issues.
Manager Matheny is an old-school guy and this is modern day baseball and they don’t mix. Either Matheny needs to adjust or someone needs to replace him. It is suggested that free agents don’t come to St. Louis because they don’t want to play for Matheny. President of Baseball Operation John Mozeliak has put together a poor team and needs to be accountable for almost 2.5 years of poor baseball.
What can we do? We can wait it out and watch this team flounder again. The urgency to get to the playoffs appears gone for the ownership and they have all their time into adding to their cash cow which is Ballpark Village. Afterall, the Cardinals are very profitable in when losing.
Let’s take a look at the first few weeks of the schedule after the All-Star break and attempt to discern if they can improve their status in the standings soon.
The first 11 games after the ASG are all with National League Central teams with 8 against the nemesis Cubs and three in Cincinnati facing the Reds. Those eight games with Chicago could tell the organization whether they buy, sell, or hold pat at the trading deadline. The Rockies come to St. Louis and then the Cardinals are off to Pittsburg, Miami, and Kansas City then the team hosts a seven-game homestand with the Nationals and Brewers coming to town. After that, it is a West Coast trip.