One of the great things about the baseball season, compared to other sports, is that they games happen almost every day.
There’s always something to look forward to the next day. And that’s helpful in making the grind of a 162-game schedule pass.
But, as much as I missed being able to watch a game Monday night, I think fans were just as much in need of a day off as the St. Louis Cardinals players in the midst of a brutal stretch of games.
As a fan, it wasn’t much fun to watch the last two weeks unfold. I can’t imagine how dreary it must have been for the players who were seemingly helpless and they watched the Cardinals’ lead evaporate to 2 1/2 games.
Broadcasters often complain about days off during winning streaks cooling a team’s momentum. Well, the Redbirds were desperately in need of an opportunity to hit the reset button after losing the first three of four in Cincinnati. Hopefully, the win in the Reds finale changed the tone in the locker room and then the break will cause the Cardinals to come back ready to attack the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.
After months of trying to fight through a ridiculous number of injuries, the Redbirds simply looked burned out. It seemed as if they were fighting an uphill battle, getting behind early in games and then playing catch up.
So the break could be exactly the thing this team needs to put an end to it’s bad streak and get rolling again.
Another thing that could be a positive development for St. Louis is the likely return of slugging first baseman Matt Adams to the starting lineup Tuesday night.
Adams, who missed the vast majority of the season after tearing a quad, pinch hit Sunday and hit an impressive homer. I’m hoping that’s an indication Adams, during his long layoff, forgot that he had evolved into an opposite field singles hitter instead of crushing balls like he did earlier in his career.
Sure, it’s a good thing to be able to hit to all fields. But Adams seemed so intent on avoiding the shift being played against him that he seemingly abandoned his strength and made himself extremely pitchable in the process.
It’s baseball basics that you have to adapt to the location of pitches. When you let the pitcher dictate the terms, you’ve probably already lost the battle as a hitter.
By all means, if its an outside pitch, smack the ball into the left field corner. If it’s late and close and they are going to play four guys on the first base side of the infield, bunt the ball to third and take the free single.
But don’t pop up inside pitches off the handle trying to prove you can do something the opposing hurler is pretty sure you can’t.
The .230 hitter with a .275 on base percentage and a sub .400 slugging percentage who showed up in April isn’t going to perk up the sagging Cardinals offense much. We need the guy who hit .284 with a .503 slugging percentage in 2013 to make a dramatic appearance and help the Birds separate themselves from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs.
After that, hopefully, St. Louis will soon add a healthy Matt Holliday back to the lineup and get a boost just at the right time.
The blessing in disguise to for the Cardinals playing without Adams and Holliday for much of the year is that while major league contenders are tired near the end of a marathon pennant race, Adams and Holliday will inject fresh legs and bats into the St. Louis lineup.