The St. Louis Cardinals ended the first month of the season scoring nine runs, hitting two home runs and finally showing some signs of life on offense. Now that the Cardinals move on from April, they hope the recent offensive ouput is a return to normal and not the aberration it has been so far in 2014.
Top Pitcher For April – Obviously this is Adam Wainwright. “Waino is Bueno” is a favorite saying in St. Louis and a common one. Translation; Wainwright is good. Yeah, no kidding. He is also the best pitcher in baseball at the moment and at the peak of his powers. His fastball is still there, completely recovered from Tommy John surgery three seasons ago and he has the best curveball in baseball. He has taken over for Chris Carpenter as the leader of the much heralded pitching staff and has beginning to make his mark as one of the great Cardinal pitchers of all time. April? Wainwright did what he always does.
Top Player For April – Wainwright again. Tim McCarver recently called Yadier Molina the most irreplaceable player in baseball and it would be hard to argue that point. Molina is that valuable in all facets of the game but Adam Wainwright held the Cardinals together in April. He halted losing streaks, he gave the bullpen a rest by pitching complete games, he ate up a ton of innings and he provided about as much offense as some of the sluggers on this team. Molina was great but his offense did not translate to a struggling Cardinals offense. “Waino is Bueno” and the Cards Most Valuable Player so far.
What Is Next – It is a really simple equation for the Cardinals. Matt Holliday is beginning to hit like Matt Holliday again. If the same continues for Allen Craig and Jhonny Peralta the Cardinals would be the Cardinals again. Or rather the Cardinals everyone is used to. The starting pitching has been just about everything they could have hoped for considering Jaime Garcia has not made a start yet and Joe Kelly is about to miss his third start due to injury.
General Manager John Mozeliak envisioned a faster, more athletic and better defensive team than what he has on his hands right now. Peter Bourjos has flopped so far in center field so the outfield defense has remained the same, meaning slow and a source of concern. A resurgence of Bourjos or the recent call up of Randal Grichuk can give Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny some offense that would solve help the Cardinals outfield defense considerably.
One final wish for Mozeliak as the calendar turns to May would be some more power. Matt Adams has just two home runs this season while Craig homered twice in the last three days to reach just three on the season. That will not do it. Matheny and Mozeliak will need about 20 each from Holliday, Craig, Adams and Peralta for the Cardinal offense to be fully functioning.
Mozeliak has already shown he is not afraid to make a move to shake things up. Consider his players warned as the Cardinals move past April. If the Cardinals reach June and are still having these issues then count on more moves and very few players safe.
Commentary by Mick Varner
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the St. Louis Cardinals