The St. Louis Cardinals limped home from a road trip that started out promising but ended in the same fashion as their season has gone. Another quality start was wasted by a putrid offense and lackluster defense.
To put things in perspective the Cardinals went 5-6 on a road trip that began with two wins over the National League Central Division leading Milwaukee Brewers. From that point on the Redbirds went 3-6 against two teams hovering around the .500 mark while never giving up more than two earned runs from their starting pitchers.
In fact, only twice during the 11 game road trip did Cardinal starters give up more than one earned run in a start. Yet they only won five games and scored only seven runs in their six losses. That is consistent lack of production from an offense that boasts a lineup has an all-star at half of the positions on the field.
All-Star Matt Holliday is hitting .244. All-Star Allen Craig is hitting .179. Kolten Wong is hitting .239. Jhonny Peralta is hitting .151. Peter Bourjos is hitting .174. That is five of the Cards’ opening day starters and not a one is hitting .250.
Two Cardinals who are hitting are Matt Carpenter and Matt Adams. They both went hitless with runners in scoring position Thursday as the Cardinals lost to the New York Mets 4-1.
The standard response from this group and the Cardinals in general is not to worry, it is early. Maybe so but the St. Louis offense has now played 23 games and is less than a week from the beginning of May. At what point does this become who the Cardinals are in 2014? Or at what point does it become something they put in the rear view mirror and brush off as an early season slump?
Only time will tell. But right now the 2013 National League Champs are aren’t just limping offensively, they are crawling.
Lynn Finally Takes a Loss:
Lance Lynn took his fist loss of the season Thursday’s loss at Citi Field. The Cardinals right-hander gave up three runs, two of them earned in 6.1 innings pitched. He also fanned nine in the losing effort as his record dropped to 4-1 on the season. Lynn started three of the 11 games of the Cardinals road trip.
Cruz Gives Molina A Rest:
Cardinals backup catcher Tony Cruz caught Lynn for the third time on the trip giving Cruz more starts during this in the last 11 days than he made all of last April. That cannot be a bad thing as Yadier Molina gets more rest behind the plate and Cruz and Lynn continue a relationship that dates back to their time in minor leagues. It is hard to argue with the results thus far. Lynn won two of the three games Cruz started and picked up another quality start against the Mets Thursday.
Peralta Gets A Day Off:
Manager Mike Matheny gave shortstop Jhonny Peralta the day off in the series finale against New York as the free-agent’s offensive woes continue. It was Peralta’s second day off this season as he struggles to find his swing in a new town and a new league. Oddly the former Detroit Tiger leads the team in home runs with four so far this season. Combine that with three doubles and seven of Peralta’s 11 hits this season are extra base hits. The Cardinals have just 12 home runs on the season.
Maybe some home cooking will help. The Cardinals’ next six games will be at home against the Pirates and Brewers. By the time the home stand ends the Cardinals hope that this limping offense will have been revived. If not, General Manager John Mozeliak could be looking outside his current roster for answers. He cannot afford to sit around much longer.
Commentary by Mick Varner