About 14 months ago, when the St. Louis Cardinals picked up longtime Houston Astro first baseman/outfielder Lance Berkman from the free agency discard heap, I speculated that for Cards' GM John Mozeliak, this might just NOT be a one-year plan but rather, should Berkman rebound away from his brief failure in Yankee Stadium, with the added motivation of being in the same division as the Astros to prove them wrong, he could also be made into the "replacement" for The Machine, Albert Pujols.
And, of course, I was right, even though some other sports bloggers hinted at the time that I was thinking too conspiratorially.
However, Berkman isn't ... right. Not physically, we see, as the Cards have officially put him on the DL. Yahoo Fantasy's note (he's on my fantasy team) notes that calf injuries have varying healing times, so he could be out more than the two weeks of the 15-day DL. (The Cards, it's worthy of note, didn't backdate his day of placement, so they at least expect him to chew up two full weeks.)
Unfortunately, he's not the only Cardinal "not right." (And this one is also on my fantasy team.)
Adam Wainwright has been waning this year so far, to be sure. But he hasn't been right, or wright.
An ESPN stat said he's only about 1mph slower on the fastball than 2010, and that his WHIP isn't hugely different. It didn't say anything about batting average against him on balls in play, so I don't know if he's getting unlucky, or getting lead-footed fielding support.
And, I've not seen any video of him, so I don't know for sure what the problem might be ... but I'll venture a guess.
Lack of motion on the fastball, due to rust or whatever. Or maybe he's not "snapping" the curve so much. Or both.
That said, because Rafael Furcal is coming back to earth, David Freese is an injury waiting to happen until he plays a full season, and Chris Carpenter, once again, is an injury that couldn't wait to happen, if Waino can't bounce back and the Big Puma turns out to be an injury tamed pussycat, I'll stand by my preseason prediction that the Cards miss the playoffs.