Attention all Cardinals fans, the panic room is now open. Starting this evening, everybody can secure a spot in the Cardinals Panic Room for the minimum price of one outrageous trade proposal. It’s July 2nd, and the reason to panic in the heat of summer is nearing. Radio call in’s are getting nastier. Fan forums are bursting into flames. Twitter is blowing up. This is the time of year where bandwagon fans will jump off and go lay down and nod off until the home team starts to win again. The test of every diehard is brought in tight during the month of July because this is where a team shows their identity or sounds the alarm that it is officially missing one. Folks, there’s a reason I call this page The Cardinals Nerve Center. I’m always angry.
Hey, there’s no reason to worry. The Cardinals should fire John Mabry and all will be well in Cardinal Nation again. The bats will start to hit and the team will flourish. Mabry is the root of all problems, right? Let’s can him. YEAH!!!! That will make us all feel better. Send the legendary scrapper to the junk yard. Hire Jack “The Ripper” Clark(since he is in between radio gigs right now) and let him coach the hitters in a gangster jump suit. He can quickly enlist these hitters into a mindset that Mabry clearly can’t. Let’s lure Mark McGwire back to town with a dozen trucks of Big Mac land lore. Right? NO. Mabry deserves some blame, but let’s keep our minds straight. I have never put much stock in hitting coaches in the Major Leagues. In my opinion they don’t have the same effect as pitching coaches do. Hitters get to this level and must sink or swim. That is my view. What I find hilarious is these same people will place their bets on luck for the success of 2013 yet slam Mabry for what is happening this season. That’s hollow stabbing my friends. It’s tiring. Look at the hitters. Hold them most accountable. If they aren’t doing the job, bench them no matter how much money they make.
Starting with Allen Craig. The guy just doesn’t look right. Matt Holliday’s slugging may be down but Allen Craig looks lost at the plate. He can fooled by the same pitch twice in a roll. In Tuesday’s game, Craig had the bases loaded and no one out. This was his time to clear the mechanism and crank one. It was time for Craig to do what he does best. Drive in runners in scoring position. He struck out against Tim Lincecum. Craig had a horrible June and July isn’t looking any sunnier. He needs to be benched. At least Holliday can get on base. Slide him back in at #2 and bench Allen. Let him be the bat off the bench or basically a man who doesn’t need 4 at bats a night. He was money in 2012 and 2013 but in 2014, he looks like a different hitter. He has 40 RBI but there haven’t been many lately.
The Marco Gonzales experiment has to be over. Back to back identical starts. He breezes through the order, and the lineup adjusts during the 2nd and 3rd times through. He’s very young and was brought here out of desperation. I scratch my head and wonder why Tim Cooney(more experience) wasn’t brought up before Gonzales. Marco needs fine tuning. He’s got poise, talent, and the skill set. Just needs experience and more training out there in facing MLB friendly talent.
Joe Kelly threw a few shutout innings on Tuesday for Memphis and could make a start here next week. That is if his hamstring holds up. The health of this rotation seems to be hinging on a lot of positives.
Such as…The Let’s Hope Blues..
Let’s hope Michael Wacha’s shoulder stress reaction isn’t too bad(hint, it is).
Let’s hope Jaime Garcia finds a brand new left shoulder sometime this month. Hint..don’t ask Mark Mulder.
Let’s hope Adam Wainwright’s elbow tendinitis isn’t going to resurface or worsen.
Let’s hope Lance Lynn doesn’t disappear into his July-August haze(signs point against that, but who knows).
Let’s hope Shelby Miller figures how to effectively throw a second pitch and spot his fastball. He’s young but there’s no time to be inconsistent in this rotation. Learn fast kid.
Let’s hope Kelly doesn’t suffer a setback.
Back to the offense. I am sure critics will scream, “Look, Oscar can’t save anything. He went 0-3.” Well, duh. Then one can politely point out that the rest of the team hit just as bad. You could have thrown a beach ball at the plate Tuesday in San Francisco and the Cardinals would have whiffed at it. Oscar has 43 at bats and needs time. He won’t be Puiging the Cards in 2014.
Let’s face it. The Cardinals lineup may just be as bad as the numbers show. They can’t hit home runs. They don’t steal. They strike out a ton. They don’t hit with runners in scoring position. They don’t manufacture runs enough to overshadow their loss of power. This lineup misses Carlos Beltran(the one from 2012-13) more than we previously thought. That’s not on John Mozeliak, Mike Matheny or Mabry. It’s on the players first and foremost. Coaches and suits get some of the blame but don’t deserve the bigger slice of shame.
They also miss the Craig and Holliday of 2012-13 as well. A manager’s job is so much easier when players are doing what they are paid and expected to do. It gets harder when little goes as planned. This lineup ranks near the bottom of the league in almost every offensive category. In all honesty, this may be our 2014 Cardinals. It may be an off year. It certainly may not be. The Cards are 44-40 and are 6.5 games out of first place with the Reds and Pirates closing in. The division gave the Cards three months to figure out their issues but there haven’t been any solutions thus far.
Understand this as we wind down here. The Cardinals haven’t scored in 24 innings, dating back to Saturday in the third inning in Los Angeles. Let that sink in for a moment. Think of all the stuff you have done since Saturday around 7 p.m. central time.
If this continues, one logical thinking fan may think a move will be made. It may not be giving up the farm for David Price at this point(he won’t get to hit every day) or the monstrous presence of Giancarlo Stanton, but something will be done. 2014 may be a down year for the Cardinals but Mozeliak isn’t going to let this team go down without a fight. If anybody knows how Mo works, they know he is already calculating, brainstorming and contacting.
It’s okay to panic now. It’s okay to be critical of these Birds. It’s not okay to think the management, coaching staff and players will be giving up. That’s definitely not the Cardinal Way.
Thanks for staying,