Just Kvetchin’

Gary Kodner

So the Cardinals are resilient. They have managed to compete, and stay in first place despite injury set-backs and a general lack of hitting power. They pack the house every night. They win as a team. They seem to come up with new ways to win and and are very hard to beat at Busch Stadium. All is well in Cardinals Nation. We are only in the third inning, not time to either stretch or kvetch, right?

But really, how long can this last? We continue to audition replacement starters for the loss of our ace (Adam Wainwright) for the season. Jaime Garcia is the most recent candidate being given a tryout with two subpar starts. Will Jaime even stay healthy long enough to continue his slow rise from the gutter? Does anybody really believe he is the answer? Perhaps we have one more internal candidate to get a look; rehabbing pitcher, Marco Gonzales (now on a three-week injury hiatus), before Mo goes to work on a viable solution.  Just hope our bullpen can hold it together until that happens.

The recent injury to Matt Adams is yet another setback. Maybe not. Matt is not having the greatest season. He is probably the worst hitter among NL starters with runners on base. In fact, only 3 hitters in baseball have left more runners on base (82) then Adams. Matt is batting a deficient .229 with runners in scoring position.  With his .281 on-base percentage AND .375 slugging percentage, he may help us more by not playing. Last season he drove in 68 while batting regularly in the 4-hole for a postseason caliber offense. “Big City” is a “BIG-easy” out, facing a frequent, exaggerated defensive shift. He’s not able to end the shift by hitting to all fields, yet he is slow enough to be thrown out from right field. He is becoming an easy strike out. 35 Ks for 144 ABs.

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But wait, we have an even bigger strikeout king to take his place in the lineup! We have “BIG-hitting” Mark Reynolds.  Reynolds, in his part-time role has already amassed 35 Ks at this writing A 33% strikeout rate. He is on pace for 105 Ks as a part-timer. Can’t imagine how many times he will strike out playing everyday. Yes I can. He has led the league 4 times in this category. Reynolds was acquired because we needed that Home Run threat off the bench. Last time I checked that was 3 HRs on pace to hit 9 for the season. 0 Round trippers as a pinch-hitter. Hmm… I would prefer to take my chances with Randal Grichuk. 

Why should we kvetch? We are in first place. Cardinals pitching has been impressive. Kolten Wong is proving to be an emerging star offensively and defensively. Matt Holliday and  Matt Carpenter are off to typical strong offensive seasons. Jhonny Peralta is heating up and helping us win games. Wacha is nothing short of awesome. A likely All-Star.  

It’s a long season. We will need 25 productive players to reach and win in the postseason. The bench will come into play and the Cardinals have a weak bench. The depth down on the farm is not what is used to be. Is Pete Kozma, hitting .119 worthy of being on a major league roster? Is TONY Cruz useful? Peter Bourjos has been useful. Good defense and has his batting average up to .260.

The loss of Shelby Miller (5-1 this season with a 1.50 ERA and a near no-hitter) in a trade to the Braves brought us Jordan Walden who has not been contributing due to an injury, and Jason Hayward who is hitting only .233 with 3 HRs (though with exceptional defense). Definitely below expectations.

But hey, we’re in first place. Not panicking, just kvetchin’.