I thought it was the pitching -- especially the bullpen -- that was supposed to be the weak link in the Cardinals chain.
But it's difficult to look past the fact that the offense is putting up a pathetic two or three runs a game when examining the Birds' stumble out of the second half gate.
Cardinals slugger Carlos Beltran carried the team for much of the first half of the season. But lately he hasn't done a darn thing. Beltran is batting .247 over the last month with one home run to drag his season average down to .291. That's a pretty drastic fall for a guy who had 19 homers and a .313 batting average on June 25.
In the last two weeks he's hitting .143. Beltran looks like he's toasted. So, hopefully, the Redbirds can use the return of Lance Berkman to give their struggling right fielder a break.
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Also on the skids lately is first baseman and outfielder Allen Craig who is still providing power, but his average is on the skids. Craig's got five homers over the last four weeks. But he's batting only .244 over that time -- and .216 over the last two weeks to drag his average down from .350 on June 15 to .297 on July 15.
Oddly, while Beltran and Craig swoon, a lot of fans seem to still bring the heat at left fielder Matt Holliday who is hitting .407 with 16 RBIs over the last month.
Holliday isn't hitting for a lot of power with only two homers since mid June. But he's got nine doubles in that time. So it's not like he's getting on base with a bunch of bunts.
As far as I know, Craig and Beltran aren't hurt. It just seems like they're taking a lot of lousy at bats these days. Beltran's hitting a lot of balls to the middle infielders while Craig has 20 strikeouts against five walks over the last month.
The Cardinals need to stop accepting excuses about injuries or bad luck or whatever and work together as a team to get runners on base, move them over and drive them in. There is just no reason this team shouldn't be averaging five runs a game.