Cheap Seats

Cardinals just can't put it away

At some point the Cardinals are going to have to stop depending on other teams to lose and do something to help themselves.

On Friday night the Redbirds had a huge chance to take control of their playoff destiny. Instead of capitalizing on Pittsburgh and Los Angeles losses, however, they choked up an early lead to Milwaukee. 

The Birds could have moved 2 1/2 games ahead of their nearest competitors to give themselves a little breathing room. Instead, they seem to be inviting Milwaukee, now only five games behind St. Louis, back into the post season picture.

The Cardinals should have won game one of this series. Now they MUST win games two and three.

While they've owned Milwaukee at Busch Stadium over the past couple of seasons, no one should have to remind the players that their schedule doesn't exactly get any easier in the coming days. They have a very dangerous west coast trip coming up as well as series against the Reds and Nationals. So they don't enjoy the luxury of having games to give away.

I don't know how much longer manager Mike Matheny can keep running Carlos Beltran out to right field. And if he must put Beltran in the line-up, can't he at least put him down in the seventh spot where his never ending parade of pop-ups and weak grounders would be a little less devistating?

Beltran is hitting .138 over the course of the last month with a .216 on base percentage and .203 since his appearance in the home run derby at the All-Star Game. He was great in the first half. But it's fairly obvious he's hurt himself when before the mid-season break he was batting .296 with a .382 on base percentage. 

With those sorts of numbers, why don't the Cardinals try to inject some life into the team and bring up Oscar Tavares to play right field. It's impossible to imagine him producing any less. And, if Beltran can't show some signs that this is a temporary affliction, Tavares might need all the at-bats he can get to be ready for the majors on a full time basis in 2013.