New Look, Same Results
Posted by JE Powell
The Cardinals have a new look in many ways this season, but as the title suggests, they are having the same results so far this season. Pujols? Gone. Nick Punto, Octavio Dotel, Edwin Jackson, Arthur Rhodes, and the always great for a post game conference Tony LaRussa? All gone. Wainwright is back, but Chris Carpenter is on the DL (it seems those two can never pitch in the same season for very long). Rafael Furcal is in (for a full season this time) and Carlos Beltran is manning right field. Yadier Molina will be around for the next six seasons (including this one) and Freese is picking up where he left off last season. Yes, there have been quite a few changes, buy the winning continues. Matheny has been doing a good job managing games, in my opinion, and for the most part I like this seasons team.
While the season is still very young (just 1/10 of the season has been played) I am a little concerned by the offense. Why, you ask? They have been putting up good numbers offensive numbers overall, right? Well, yes, they have. The Cards are currently 2nd in runs scored, 1st in batting average, and 1st in OBP. So, it seems, on the surface, that the Cards offense is getting the job done. However, the Cards have been shut out a couple of times this season and have had spotty issues with converting runners in scoring position.
The other issue is the bullpen. Using the “I know it when I see it” technique, it seems to me that the bullpen could have some issues this season. The Cards could easily be 14-5 rather than 12-7, but the bullpen blew two of the games against the (ugh!) Cubs.
Yes, I am being a little nitpicky, I freely admit that. The season is young, you say. I agree with that. Allen Craig and Lance Berkman should be back sometime in May and Adam Wainwright pitched much better in his 4th game back than he did in the previous three. I cannot argue with you there. So why are you nitpicking, you say? It’s just kind of what I do. I have said it before, I am a “expect the worst, hope for the best” type of fan. In my opinion, it helps to curb the disappointment when they lose and increases the joy when they win. So, I will root however the hell I want, dammit. (There is nothing like reading a blog that has unwarranted aggression towards its small reader base, is there?)
All in all, I think the Cards are on the right track and I am certainly happy that they are in 1st place and have reached the first (of many, hopefully) milestones of being five games over .500. Next stop, 10 games over. One last thing, part of me was hoping that the Cards would pull a Seattle Mariners when Alex Rodriguez left and win 110 games. Pujols’ leaving for an ungodly contract is similar right? Like the Mariners did, why couldn’t the Cardinals be an even better team? I guess it’s kind of hard to be better than the best and last year they were the best, so I guess I should just shut up and count my blessings, so to speak.