The St. Louis Cardinals are seven games back from first place today on their day off. Needless to say there is work to be done. The Cardinals have to figure a way out of the hole they dug themselves into, and then try to force the brewers and/or braves down that same hole. Sounds like a lot for a team that just can't seem to find their stride as a club. The upside, is that there is still a month and a half of baseball to be played, and stranger things have happened. I remember the 2006 season and how close it was to ending, but when it was all said and done we were champions. Considering all the things that have gone wrong this year for the Cards, their probably lucky to be within 7. Everyone wants to point fingers at guys like Ryan Franklin, or Theriot and his lack of Dfence, or TLR and the daily bullshit he thinks is strategic management but others would say is pure poppycock. That's understandable, we can play the blame game all day long but it comes down to a few simple facts.
1. The starting rotation needs to get confident and consistent, and they need to do it fast. This has to be Duncan's priority if we plan to make a playoff push. Loosing Wainwright is hurting more than most people would have expected. The good news is that with the exception of Westbrook, the rotation is full of great talent. I think what they could be missing is that bit of swagger that motivates a pitcher to get through the tough innings and really grind out a solid 7-8 innings. If the starters can learn to trust their stuff the Redbirds could easily make a late season rally.
2. The lineup needs to stay HOT. I'm sure you hear all the time how the Cardinals have the best offence in the NL. The fact is the Cardinals are good at scoring runs. The trick is they have to do it for more than two or three games in a row. I say keep Allen Craig in there against the cubs, hes proving that he deserves to play everyday. Craig was hitting close to .400 before he went on the DL, now hes starting to swing the hot bat again. Meanwhile I'm watching Jon Jay's production drop off ever since we gave Rasmus the boot. This lineup has proved that it can carve up average pitching. But when there is an above average pitcher on the mound the Cardinals turn into the turtles and go into a shell, and its hard to swing a bat inside of a shell. I refuse to believe that between Pujols, Holliday, and Berkman that this lineup could be easily intimidated. The supporting cast of Molina, Freese, and Furcal around the big three should be kicking ass and taking names every night. C'mon Mcguire lets get these guys juiced up, not literally but metaphorically.
3. I realize the Cardinals and brewers have practically the same schedule for the rest of the year. I can see that the brewers look like they can do no wrong and it might be their time. But when you compare the brew crew to the Redbirds on paper, the Cardinals have somethings that the brewers don't. Yes, when it comes to starting pitching the scale tips in the brewers favor. Now look at the strength and depth in the two lineups, and you gotta believe the Cardinals have the advantage there. Then Look like the Card's coaching staff and fan base, shouldn't that be enough to overcome the odds? It's ticking me off to see people talking about next year already. I get that Milwaukee looks like a juggernaut right now but they are not immortal. You know who is immortal when he plays at his best? #5 Albert Pujols, the best in the game today. Go ahead city of St. Louis, put it all on his shoulders, that's the way he would want it. There just might be a little baseball magic this ballclub hasn't tapped yet. I'm just sayin Cardinal Nation have a little hope, have a little faith its NOT over yet.