I found it tough to think about blogging today, and I can tell you why—there's nothing going on in St. Louis to get really angry or sad about. Bloggers are sadness and anger vampires: we operate better when we're feeding off it, and the literature has it that most of us live in the dark, refusing to go out into the world until sun has set. And this weekend has been pretty anemic.
March Problem: The bullpen is terrible, and we don't know who's starting at the back of the rotation.
May Problem: Tony La Russa seems to be using Dennys Reyes too much, I guess, and eventually Jaime Garcia will not have an ERA of 1.04.
I'm not sure that this has been brought up any more often than it has in the past, but Twitter and Facebook etc. multiplies the number of similar opinions I'm exposed to every day—anyway, as far as I can remember, this has been the official team of Being Fun To Watch. And it's fun to watch because every problem the Cardinals have developed or threaten to develop, whether an underdeveloped bullpen, a hitless-wonder shortstop, or a home run heavy offense, has been easily and quickly resolved. The Cardinals haven't yet given us time to freak out. They will, of course; here in May, though, negative narratives have wilted, one after the other, in the face of one series win after the other.
First order of business: Brendan Ryan is hitting .400 since I initiated reverse jinx measures. With two doubles! Having mentioned it, of course, I am creating a rare triple jinx scenario; I'm in uncharted GOB territory, here, but with his OPS still under .600 there's still some room for the reverse jinx to breathe.
So the Cardinals have stamped out most of the structural risk they dealt with in April. There was a chance that the rotation was too thin, or that the bullpen wasn't very good, or than Brendan Ryan wasn't actually a capable Major League hitter; they all still exist, but they're certainly less pressing. The slumps now, Matt Holliday's .800 OPS or Skip Schumaker hitting .220, are not yet things to be worried about for July and August.
In that sense this could be kind of ominous, like the eye of a tired simile. The spring problems have passed over us without causing any real damage, and the Cardinals have not yet slumped long enough to replenish our supply of worrisome hobbyhorses. Matt Holliday could scuffle for another month and bring up the specter of his half-season in Oakland, or Skip Schumaker could cause a sudden rush on Daniel Descalso stock; it just hasn't happened yet.
But however lucky the Cardinals are to be here, it is, in the words of our fearless vertical integrator, the residue of design. The Cardinals minimized their risk better than most teams built like this can manage, which is to say that as far as teams who are heavily reliant on four players, one of whom is Chris Carpenter, go, they're pretty well off. I'm not the one signing John Mozeliak's report cards, but in the first quarter he's earned some excellent marks.
I have to be brief; prior engagements left me without significant Cardinals access over the weekend. But before I click submit I thought I'd point out two excellent fanposts that appeared while I was out—a look at David Freese's swing, courtesy thepainguy, and, startlingly enough, a Brad Penny PitchF/X piece.