Please pardon my recent absence. I’ve been on vacation and, while I have never had a significant time off from this blog in its eight years of existence, I needed a little time to charge the batteries.
That being said...
The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays.
In addition to being a patriotic person and an American history buff, I love independence day because it’s a great time of year.
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It’s warm, but not dog days of August hot. It’s a time filled with memories of barbeques, boating and, of course, St. Louis Cardinals baseball.
Baseball in April and May is amusing. But by the time the calendar turns to August, things start to get interesting.
Division races get hot and so does the trade market as teams try to give themselves a makeover in time for the playoff drive.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m still having a good time watching the Redbirds. But lately there haven’t been a lot of offensive fireworks. I’m not sure how, or if, the front office plans to address the situation.
The Cardinals desperately need a bat. Preferably a player who hits right-handed and who can play first base.
Sure, the Cardinals are going to get Matt Holliday back at some point in the near future following a leg injury that has shelved him for a month. But the team isn’t going to get fourth-place hitter Matt Adams back this season. Even if he expected Adams’ return, general manager John Mozeliak ought to be looking for a deal because Adams wasn’t pulling his weight BEFORE he was injured.
Mark Reynolds, signed to be a right-handed power source off the bench, has been pressed into full-time duty in Adams’ absence. He did alright for a while. But Reynolds came into Saturday hitting .121 over the last two weeks with no homers. He’s batting .203 with two homers over the past four weeks. That’s not nearly good enough. But what did we expect from a guy who couldn’t hit better than .196 last year in significant playing time?
The Cardinals can’t go without a legitimate clean-up hitter into the post-season. If they do, third-place hitter Holliday won’t ever see a pitch he can reach with someone on base.
Beyond the hole in the middle of the order, the Birds just aren’t doing a very good job of manufacturing runs. They, as of the time I’m typing, have one hit with a runner in scoring position in their last five games, combined.
I can understand the Cardinals not having a lot of power. In the 1980s we watch the Cardinals try to beat Roger Maris’ single-season record of 61 homers - as a club - every year. But I’m not used to watching Redbirds who can’t move up runners with a ground ball or hit a sacrifice fly.
The Cardinals can’t fall in love with their record and coast the rest of the way. The front office needs to do something to shake things up. Most of the year I would have said they needed a front end starter to fill in for missing ace Adam Wainwright in the playoffs. But if they had one move to make, I’d rather see a righty slugger brought aboard.
I’m not talking about blowing up a team that has the best record in baseball. But the Cardinals need to find the straw that stirs the drink.