DETROIT, MI - JUNE 19: Rafael Furcal #15 of the St Louis Cardinals hits a line drive out to third base to end the game during a MLB interleague game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on June 19, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers won 6-3 (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Hmph. Back to even. A .500 ballclub. Still ten games over by the Pythagorean record, but not in reality.
It's rapidly becoming a very, very frustrating season. It started off so promising, too. Remember when Beltran and Lance Berkman were both on the team, for like a week, and we totally had that Killer B reunion we always wanted? Yeah, that was pretty awesome, huh?
Unfortunately, it hasn't been quite so good lately. The Cards' highwater mark, depending on how you want to define it, came either on the 28th of April or the 9th of May. On the 28th of April, the Cards beat the Brewers 7-3 (their second win in a row over the Crew), to go to 14-7 on the season. It felt like this was a juggernaut doing what juggernauts do.
On the 9th of May, the Cards completed a sweep of the Diamondbacks, thumping the snakes 7-2 to reach 20-11, 9 games above .500, their largest number of games over this season. It felt like after a shaky few weeks, the juggernaut was back on course, doing its juggernaut thing.
Each game had its own narrative appeal, of course; for me, though, the end of that Arizona series really felt like the moment. The Cards didn't just win in Arizona. They didn't just sweep. They flat out dominated. That was the best for me.
Since then, well, El Birdos have gone 14-23. It's been a long, slow slide. The low point had to be that awful, awful series against the Mets, when the Cards were outscored 19-1 over the first three games. There have been plenty of other losses, plenty of them monstrously frustrating, but that's the kind of futility that doesn't go away with just one shower. That shit lingers.
I would like to look at run differential and be able to feel good about this team. I really would. But, unfortunately, I really don't. I hate feeling like that, because there's really no logic to it. All the tangible indicators we have say this team should be better, and that it will get better. But, man. It just feels like this thing is turning turtle.
- Rafael Furcal, after starting out the season on a magnificent tear, is now down to a 100 OPS+ for the season. He's still a shortstop, so that league average offense is still really nice, but damn. I really wish the April Raffy would show back up.
- Allen Craig, on the other hand, is effing awesome. OPS of 1.038, OPS+ of 181. The best part? That 12.4% walk rate. Unfortunately, that's way out of line with his career numbers -- 8.5% for the record -- so you would expect that has to come down some. Then again, it isn't unheard of for a player to increase his walk rate once the league learns a little bit of fear, so maybe it isn't due for quite as much of a fall as one might think. Allen Craig is an elite offensive player. A little BABIP regression and a few less walks? Fine. He's still elite. I just wish that whole second base thing had worked out.
- I don't think Sam Freeman is ready just yet, but I can't deny being very, very excited by his arm. Watching The Scrabbler baffle hitters with his slider is nice, but Freeman is electric. Now, if he could just get things under control, even a little bit.
I'm out of time, folks. I apologise for the abbreviated and, well, let's face it, flat-out thin post, but I'm short on time today.
We're about 42% of the way into this season. It feels to me like things are going off the rails. How about you?