The St. Louis Cardinals called up Oscar Taveras Friday night and put first baseman Matt Adams on the disabled list with a strained calf. The move was made prior to the Cards hosting the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium and surprised many who believed the call up of Randal Grichuk on Thursday delayed the arrival of Taveras.
However, Adams calf did not respond to treatment and the much anticipated era of Oscar Taveras has begun. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny confirmed Friday night after the Cardinals loss to the Giants that Taveras would be in the lineup Saturday. The arrival of 21-year old prospect comes at an opportune time as Matheny’s offense has gone flat again after losing a series to the New York Yankees and dropping two straight games to San Francisco. The Cardinals’ bats had seemingly woken up recently but despite higher batting averages the offense is still lacking power as St. Louis ranks 29th in major league baseball in home runs hit this season.
Taveras could be the answer to the problem as the young Dominican outfielder has been labeled the best hitting prospect in the Cardinals system since Albert Pujols. He was hitting .325 with seven homers and 40 RBI at Memphis before Friday night’s promotion. The Cardinals need something as the calendar flips to June and they continue their inconsistent pace. When the week began on Monday the feeling was Matheny’s team had finally turned the corner but stiffer competition dispelled that notion. Calling up Taveras should provide a jolt to the offense.
Pitcher of The Month for May – Adam Wainwright is again the top choice for the Cardinals as he continues to keep this team afloat with his performance and leadership. The fact that Wainwright was blasted Friday night by the Giants further underscores his importance to the Cardinals. He has stopped losing streaks all season until San Francisco came to town. Do not bet on it happening again.
Player of The Month – There are several candidates here as most of the team has steadily picked up their game but Allen Craig is the choice. It is no coincidence that the Cardinals started winning when Craig got hot. While Matt Carpenter, Jhonny Peralta and Matt Holliday gradually came around, Craig’s bat caught fire and helped propel the direction of the team.
Where do they go from here? – Good question. Last weekend it looked as though the Cardinals were about to take over the National League Central. However a vulnerable bullpen and an offense that has sputtered again has given Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak more questions than answers. Mozeliak has never been one to hesitate and he has tinkered with the fringes of this roster all season to try and get it jump started but to this point it has not been enough. Who is next? Carlos Martinez and Shelby Miller should not be surprised to find themselves being demoted if things do not change soon as both have been disappointing this season. If this team is still struggling when July comes around some combination of these two players and Adams may need to think about packing their bags via trade or demotion. Mozeliak will not let this go on indefinitely.
For the moment though the Cardinals move is to call up Oscar Taveras and see what the young phenom can do. If he lives up to the hype it will change the outlook of the Cardinals season. It will also change the configuration of their roster.
Commentary By Mick Varner
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the St. Louis Cardinals