St. Louis Cardinals: a Bad Bet
by Harry Brewer - 09/18/2007
With a late-season run in a terrible division, the St. Louis Cardinals should have taken and held first place with little resistance from the Cubs and Brewers. But after winning only one game in a 10-game stretch, they were exposed as frauds and this team has shown a serious lack of heart. A couple weeks ago this team was poised to win the division after a Milwaukee collapse and Chicago being, well… the same old Cubs.
What we are all interested in at this point when it concerns the Cardinals is whether this is a team to follow late in the season or a team to fade. I am not on the Advisory Board at Doc's. I do not make MLB predictions. I simply report what I see. They lose as favorites, they lose as dogs, and their wins all seem to be a result of small streaks within their division. The Brewers are four games over .500 and the Cubs are six games over. The Cards are under .500 and seven games out of first place (11 out of a wildcard) with 14 games to play. They won't be seeing any of my money this year.
Just a couple of weeks ago, pitcher turned slugger Rick Ankiel knocked one out of the park. The Cards fed off of the emotion for 10 days with some hot play then went back where they belong.
If you think gaining seven games is at all possible, and just maybe they will make one last push, you should read the injury report. Juan Encarnacion, Scott Rolen, Adam Kennedy, Chris Carpenter, and Josh Kinney are all out. That leaves Albert Pujols, David Eckstein, and Molina to carry the load.
Manager Tony LaRussa has tried to fill in gaps in the lineup to no avail. Pujols has managed to quietly hit 31 home runs but has no protection in that lineup. Edmonds can no longer hit. Rolen wasn't hitting before he went on the DL and, just to drive this point home a little harder, their third best pitcher in the wins column is 15-year veteran, Russ Springer, with seven wins and their best is Adam Wainwright who is 13-11 with a 3.71 ERA.
The best stat they have going is that they are sixth in the NL in batting average. They are 12th in home runs, 13th in RBI, 11th in ERA, and 14th in saves.
Once your pitching gets beat up and overworked, it is very difficult to get back in the groove. Only the special hurlers of the league can crank it up at the end of a long season and there is nothing special about this staff.
The Cardinals are out of players. While they have some young guys hitting well (small ball), these young players are far from what we saw last year.
They have the Phillies, Pirates and Brewers coming up and, based on their one out of four weekend against the Cubs, there is not much hope. Some bad teams do jump up late in the season and spoil playoff hopefuls. It doesn't look like the Cardinals have that kind of heart left.