June 07, 2017

Cardinals at the one-quarter pole

Well, we're just past that point, actually, but now is a good time to take stock of this year's El Birdos.

So far, it's been up-and-down. A mid-May surge, with a brief visit to the top rung of the NL Central, made it look like the Redbirds were in the catbird seat. I thought that my own personal prediction in the polls at right — second, wild card, win the division round after the WC play-in, while falling in the LCS, might have been right on target.

Now, not so much. Although pitching remains strong up front, with Carlos Martinez finding his groove, Adam Wainwright bouncing back from a slow start, Mike Leake chugging along (until last Saturday) and Lance Lynn seeming to have bounced back well from his Tommy John, other problems abound.

The biggie? Bats are still, generally, slumping. And, although I blogged about the "ideal lineup," a month ago, as listed below, I think only a tire fire would radically help at this point.

Update, June 9: GM John Mozeliak apparently agreed. He just ignited a medium-sized tire fire and hinted he'll do a bigger one if necessary.

Lineup 1:
1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Matt Carpenter, 1B
3. Jedd Gyorko, 3B (for now)
4. Stephen Piscotty, RF
5. Aledmys Diaz, SS
6. Randal Grichuk, LF
7. Yadier Molina, C
8. Kolton Wong, 2B
9. Pitcher

Lineup 2:
1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Matt Carpenter, 1B
3. Jedd Gyorko, 2B (for now)
4. Stephen Piscotty, RF
5. Aledmys Diaz, SS
6. Randal Grichuk, LF
7. Yadier Molina, C
8. Greg Garcia, 3B
9. Pitcher

Gyorko is the only position player with more than 1 WAR so far, and the second-highest ranking position player is a sub, Tommy Pham. Dex, while a great clubhouse presence, not only is struggling somewhat with the bat, he's also regressed from his career-year defense of a season ago. And, given the ongoing struggles of Grichuk and slightly lesser ones of Piscotty, I don't know why GM John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny haven't huddled and said "Do we need to move Pham ahead of both of them"?

Middle relief has of course been a problem at times. Why Mo hasn't DFA-ed Jonathan Broxton I have no idea. He's not only tied for worst in that group, but he's the oldest.

Looking longer-term, Mo's going to have to decide how seriously to pursue Lynn in free agency, and how much to pay Waino after 2018.

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