The Deadline of Doom

Justin K. Aller

So...yeah. Things are not so good this morning.

Well, it's been awhile since I felt this bad about our team's chances.

That's what happens, though, when you lose six games straight, three to the team chasing you, two in the same day, really don't look very competitive at all in most of the six losses, fall out of first place rather convincingly, and lose the one player pretty much everyone agrees the team absolutely cannot afford to lose to a knee injury. Things could really only get worse now if VEB were to collectively find blood in our urine.

Or a really stupid trade happens, I suppose.

I remember 2006, and I remember how shitty it felt watching the Cardinals roll off long losing streaks, but I will admit, at no point in all that losing did I ever feel quite so hopeless as I do right now about this team. Even ignoring Yadier's blown-out knee, or the fact the Redbirds suddenly find themselves playing in arguably the best division in baseball and have seemingly no chance against winning teams in 2013, who would thought a week ago that the best offense in the National League -- and probably the best in baseball, considering the non-DH thing -- would go so suddenly, hopelessly impotent?

We've discussed here before, plenty of times, how this team could be in for some regression. Usually, though, there was at least a modicum of optimism to go along with the fretting, a feeling that the team should be hitting for more power to help offset some of the falloff that seemed to be coming when the team stopped hitting .400 with runners in scoring position. Unfortunately, all the regression we were afraid of has come at once, as if the math gods suddenly noticed the enormous statistical anomaly going on right under their noses and got pissed off, determined to do something about it immediately. This isn't a slump; this is the vengeance of angry deities. Angry deities who represent the mean outcome. and don't appreciate it being flaunted so outrageously.

The power just doesn't seem to be there, either. Allen Craig is still sitting on ten home runs; the team as a whole has hit exactly one ball over the fence since the All-Star break. That was two weeks ago. How does that happen?

I admit, I had a very bad feeling about this roadtrip going in; I didn't think the Cards would get out of it in first place. I don't know why I felt that way, but I did. I just felt like the schedule had set the club up for a meat grinder, and they were in for some very rough times. At no point did I feel like they would be lucky to win a single game, though, and that's honestly kind of how I feel at the moment. The gap between how good this team still seems to be and how it feels like they're playing is almost impossibly vast.

And so that's where we are as the trade deadline counts down. Franchise player injured, unknown severity. One home run in twelve games, an offense that suddenly looks ready to pack it in every single at-bat, a leaky pitching staff with more question marks than answers, and five more games to go against the teams directly chasing them in the division.

I still hope John Mozeliak refrains from making a rash, poorly-considered decision today and sends Carlos Martinez to some other team in exchange for two months of a marginal upgrade. But the way things are going right now, it wouldn't surprise me at all if something bad was in the offing.

I had plans for a longer post today, considering some more detailed scenarios and looking at what the Cardinals have they could move before the deadline, but I'm running short of time today, so I apologise for the shortish post. Plus, my enthusiasm for this team is at a bit of a low ebb at the moment; I'm sure you guys can relate.

So I'll just ask you a simple question: things are going very, very badly right now. Do you want to see the team make a big splash to try and turn it around? Or stay the course and let the chips fall where they may, believing there are better days ahead?

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