Rarely has there been a time that I can remember bringing up my own playing days from Little League when thinking about a post. At the same time, however, the Cardinals have resembled a bad beer league team on more than a few occasions lately so maybe the correlation is due. It was also in early May many moons ago when my team faced adversity with a number of rain-outs early in the schedule. Not only did that make practicing a hassle but it caused a few issues in finding enough pitching to get thru the summer grind.
The one main difference between that championship-winning club and the St. Louis squad this season was pretty much everything was a home game when you have one playable park. I am not advocating something happening to keep the Cards on the road, but the home cooking at Busch just hasn’t been the same for the last year. That will not be changing anytime soon, though, given a pair of rain-outs next month are either going to make or break the campaign when you consider one other very important fact.
As much as I hate to say it, the defense in 2017 may actually be worse and will make it that much harder on the staff who needs to be prepared to phone a friend or five in Memphis as the schedule only gets more insane following a travel day on May 22nd. Twenty straight days of games will not allow for much practice so here’s hoping the defense just doesn’t need a day off or plenty of rest. The day of rest in June will be the 12th, as this next stretch truly is the murderer’s row of schedules.
The make-up with the second-place Brewers begins 27 games in yup, 27 days. I guess maybe the travel day between Baltimore and Philly ‘counts’ as resting, but the truth is we will all know by the All-Star break whether or not any arms are left and if this edition of St. Louis baseball will make any noise in September. Four teams are separated by 2.5 games in the National League Central, but defense such as last night will find the Cards fighting for the cellar and missing out on October baseball except for a very sad finale. Winning teams can overcome poor hitting or pitching as the World Series banners prove from 2006 and 2011.
This is where the schedule actually benefits the Birds on the Bat. Playing the hot hand will not be an issue for the manager or GM when it comes to needing a fresh body. It may actually come down to survival of the fittest but defense has to be at a premium when every out and inning is vital to keeping the workload down on the starters and bullpen alike. So at least in the case of having too much time to think, the next month and a half will be a wild ride to watch unfold. The Cardinals still find themselves in first place and with no pressing draft news for the Preacher, many Memphis updates will become that much more important as the calendar hits June. Buckle up for what is sure to be an interesting summer under the Arch!