It’s been a disastrous season for the Cardinals. There’s no getting around that. Even after yesterday’s win, they come into play today with a record of 28-43. That’s tied with the Nationals for the worst record in the National League.
John Mozeliak constantly preaches patience, which pisses fans off, and with good reason. There is time to get it going, yes. But the clock is ticking.
But this morning, I invite you to grab your coffee and pull up a chair as we discuss the chances of a turnaround and whether or not that’s plausible. We’ll examine two reasons why the Cardinals still have a chance, while also discussing two reasons why the season is likely toast.
The Cardinals play in a weak division that is slumping
Let’s start off with the good. Obviously, the NL Central is not the class of Major League Baseball. The Brewers have won two straight and are in first, but are also just two games above the .500 mark.
The Pirates, who the Cardinals have been chasing, are also slumping, having lost five consecutive games. The Cardinals do face a sizable deficit in the division as they trail the Brewers by 8.5 games. Quite honestly, it’s a miracle that the deficit isn’t larger.
But if we learned anything from 2011, it’s that strange things can happen. I’m not saying it’s a guarantee, but this division is so bad that the Cardinals do have a shot at potentially gaining some ground.
While the Central is weak, two new threats have emerged
So far, the Cardinals have proven that they are the worst team in the NL Central. On paper, it’s a good club. but I firmly believe that you are what your record says you are. And while the Pirates and Brewers are slumping a bit, two new threats have emerged in the Reds and Cubs.
The Reds took two out of three last weekend at Busch Stadium, and those wins began an impressive seven-game winning streak that has them over the .500 mark and just a half-game out of first place.
The Cardinals took two from the Cubs in May when they briefly got hot and climbed back into the race. But since last weekend in San Francisco, the North Siders have been rolling. They’ve won five in a row and also pulled off a series win against the Orioles, who are tied for the second-best record in baseball.
These two clubs appear to have worked out several of their issues and also have bright futures ahead of them. That’s not to say the Cardinals don’t, but for a team that has seemingly found new ways to lose every night, this isn’t a good sign. The Cardinals will also match up with the Cubs next weekend in London.
If the A’s can do it, so can the Cardinals
This may not seem like a great reason to hold onto hope. Still, we know it’s possible. While the Cardinals were struggling to beat the Reds, the A’s actually swept the Brewers and ended up winning seven in a row, which made the series loss to Cincinnati that much more painful, as the Cardinals blew a perfect chance to gain ground.
But the A’s really don’t have much of anything on their roster, yet they still pulled off a seven-game win streak and managed to split a series with the Rays, who have baseball’s best record. With the talent on the Cardinals roster and the NL Central being weak, winning a few games in a row could ultimately get the team back on track.
No front office changes
While a win streak is possible, there is something that is still holding the Cardinals back, that being the front office. It’s become increasingly clear that no matter how bad things get, John Mozeliak’s job is secure. The same can be said for everybody on the coaching staff, including Oli Marmol.
Mo continues to endorse Marmol and sing his praises, despite the team being 15 games under .500. Mo himself was also recently extended. And with the Cardinals constantly finding excruciating new ways to lose, the outlook isn’t too promising.
I think I speak for a sizable portion of the fanbase when I say that meaningful change within the front office is necessary for the team to become World Series contenders again and bring back the glory days of Cardinals baseball. But the front office has continued to do a poor job at trade deadlines and in offseasons when it comes to making deals and evaluating talent.
They either give up prized pieces that end up producing elsewhere, don’t do anything, or make bad deals that end up negatively impacting the future of the franchise. Yet Mozeliak and Michael Girsch are never held accountable for their missteps.
Anything can happen in baseball, but the Cardinals had better hope that Adam Wainwright playing the role of stopper yesterday can ignite a fire and get them some much-needed wins.