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Cardinals defense: sometimes Jekyll, sometimes Hyde - A Hunt and Peck

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It is all very confusing.

stephen piscotty has actually been pretty steady in right, but this was first "defense" photo i found, soooooo
stephen piscotty has actually been pretty steady in right, but this was first "defense" photo i found, soooooo
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Kolten Wong has made several good plays during his time wearing the Birds on the Bat. After seeing one such play occur a few innings after he made a silly error, a thought popped into my brain. This thought was:

Sometimes Kolten Wong bobbles routine grounders, and sometimes he does that 
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This is not to pick on Kolten, mind you - he just embodies the Jekyll/Hyde defense of the Cardinals the most in my mind. The same could be said for several of the Cardinals fielders. Per Ryan Romano of Beyond the Box Score:

In one particular area, the weirdness magnifies. Through their first 40 contests, the Cardinals have excelled in the field, according to one metric. Their 21 Defensive Runs Saved trails only the Cubs out of the 30 major-league teams. But another metric disagrees: By Ultimate Zone Rating, the St. Louis defenders have been worth -16.8 runs, the second-worst figure in the majors. You have both ends of the spectrum — either the Cardinals are spectacular or terrible.

And this fits the eye test. Just check out the chart further down in the article. The Cardinals are one of the best teams in the league at making "Unlikely", "Even", and "Likely" plays, but are almost the worst when it comes to "Routine" plays.

So what gives? Is it youth? Lack of fundamentals? A need for more drills? Possibly. What is comforting about this is that the Birdos appear to have the defensive talent and that is something that cannot really be taught. Now, to clean up those rookie mistakes.

The Cardinals defense is either really good or really terrible | Beyond the Box Score

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