Every time it seems that the St. Louis Cardinals have turned the corner, there's another bend in the road.
This team looked like it was poised to take off a week ago when it swept away the red hot Washington Nationals. It took the first two of three from the Mets to craft a five-game winning streak and, even when the Birds dropped the finale to a sloppy and weak New York club, it was hard to imagine this home stand would be anything less than wildly successful.
But, suddenly, the Birds have lost three games in a row. And that 5-1 start at home has turned into a mediocre 5-3 record. If St. Louis doesn't wake up, it could find itself at .500 by the end of the weekend in what was supposed to be a string of three home series that got the Cardinals back in the mix.
We can speculate on if it's the manager's fault or the hitting coach's fault or the defense's fault. But the fact of the matter is that we're a week short of the mid-point of the 2014 championship season and this club is still playing as inconsistently and sloppily as it was at the beginning of April.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
I really thought, when the Redbirds went ahead and pulled the trigger on calling up Oscar Taveras a couple of weeks ago, that they were going to bite the bullet and give him steady playing time to get him up to speed on major league pitching. But, instead, they sent him back down and are stuck spinning their wheels, hoping that fielding the same lineup day after day will somehow yield different results and start scoring a reasonable amount of runs.
There is no doubt this club has a ton of talent. But it seems that maybe the kids weren't as ready to contribute. The Cardinals need to let them sink or swim. Hopefully by getting Taveras back in the mix it will spark the team and give it some depth and diversity in its offense. If not, at least the team will be better prepared for next season.