Injuries may add to Card’s inconsistency

Progress Sports WriterJuly 1, 2014 

Steve Oliver is the Back Court sports columnist.

FILE PHOTO

Two steps forward, one step back.

The St. Louis Cardinals continue to maintain this pattern as the All-Star break looms on the horizon.

Over the past weekend GM John Mozeliak made an ominous announcement that both Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia are headed to the 15-day disabled list, exacerbating the problem of consistency for the Redbirds who continue to flounder with no apparent improvement in sight. Amid a 10-game road trip on the West Coast, things could very easily go from bad to worse for the Birds.

To say that the Cardinals performance on the field to this point in the season has been sporadic would be an understatement.

Buoyed by several stretches of excellent pitching they have been able to stay within shouting distance of the Milwaukee Brewers – barely.

With players moving on and off the DL more frequently than being able to put together back-to-back wins, St. Louis has frustrated its fan base with mediocre baseball.

Everyone who followed the Redbirds knows that hitting – timely or otherwise – has been a major failing through the first three months of the season.

The players in the batter’s box are ultimately responsible for turning things around, but manager Mike Matheny and General Manager John Mozeliak must also share some of the blame for the stumbling start to the 2014 campaign.

Mozeliak, whose performance in the GM position has been heralded ad nauseum by the St. Louis media, has not been a knight in shining armor in all instances.

Signing Ty Wigginton as a utility player last year was a bust, letting Carlos Beltran walk another dubious decision, and the monumental gaffs of signing Peralta and Bourjos as well as dumping copious amounts of money for reliever Randy Choate are just a few of the executive decisions for which Mozeliak should be held accountable.

These and other decisions have resulted in the situation in which the organization finds itself today.

The Cardinals’ GM has been astute in personnel decisions to some degree; however, it would be refreshing to have him admit that some have been, to date, abject failures. Peralta and Bourjos head the list.

In order to compensate for the departure of Beltran, the Tiger shortstop was given a multi-year deal – millions of dollars – to provide some offensive punch in the middle of the Cardinal line-up.

Through the first three months of the season, his numbers are abysmal. In spring training, the Cardinal media trumpeted the arrival of Bourjos as a slick fielding speedster who would transform the base-to-base Redbirds into a new version of Whitey Ball.

This hasn’t happened. Bourjos is on base so infrequently that adding a running game to the Redbird offensive repertoire hasn’t materialized. Pete Kozma couldn’t hit a lick. Bourjos is worse, and Peralta almost as bad.

Injuries have also played a part in the stumbling Redbird effort. Cardinal fans might need to brace themselves for even more of a bad thing with Wacha and Garcia on the shelf.

Now the Redbird faithful will have to depend on Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller to shoulder the load on the mound in order for St. Louis to make up ground on the Brewers. This scenario does not breed confidence.

So what does this mean for Cardinal fans as they approach the midway point in the 2014 season? Hope, and pray and maybe watch a little more of the World Cup.

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