Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty discuss the 2016 season
St. Louis Cardinals fans who were ready to jump off a cliff when the team started out with an 0-3 mark can step back from the ledge.
But there are still plenty of things to be concerned about as the Redbirds get ready for the pomp and circumstance of their home opener Monday.
Adam Wainwright hasn’t looked a thing like himself in a pair of crummy starts. While he was formidable in the playoffs after returning last year from an Achilles injury, the St. Louis ace has struggled to a 6.55 ERA with 12 hits and eight walks allowed in 11 innings of work over his first two games.
Wainwright’s signature curve ball hasn’t had the bite it needs to be successful and his command has been poor causing him to leave too many pitches dangerously high in the strike zone.
The Birds’ other tall righty, Micahel Wacha takes the hill in the home opener. And, like Wainwright, Wacha has struggled early in 2016.
Wacha was rocked for 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings in his first start, allowing five runs, four earned.
The starting pitching is supposed to be the foundation of this squad. But after six games, the starters have one win and two losses. Only Carlos Martinez has pitched particularly well.
Also troubling is a lack of offensive production from several key pieces.
Matt Carpenter showed some signs of life with a late home run Sunday. But the third baseman is hitting .217 on the young season. Matt Holliday is batting .190, Yadier Molina is hitting .200 with absolutely no signs of power and Matt Adams is hitting .083.
But, on the bright side, the youngsters and other new additions are shouldering the offensive burden.
Aledmys Diaz, pushed into action by a pair of injuries at the shortstop position, has a .500 batting average through his first 20 at bats with a homer, a triple and a clutch double among his accomplishments during his first week in the big leagues.
Jeremy Hazelbaker, who forced his way onto the St. Louis roster with a fantastic spring, hasn’t stopped hitting after arriving in the big leagues. He’s got a .400 average with a team-leading two homers. He also leads the Cardinals with two stolen bases.
As bad as the starting pitching has been, the bullpen has been great.
Seung-hwan Oh notched his first win in the big leagues Sunday an hasn’t allowed a hit or a run in 3 2/3 innings of work. Kevin Seigrist, Trevor Rosenthal, Jonathan Broxton and Matthew Bowman join Oh with 0.00 ERAs. Tyler Lyons, with a 2.45 ERA has been outstanding with one hit allowed in 3 2/3 innings.
Only Seth Maness, who has allowed six hits in 3 2/3 innings, has struggled.
The winless Atlanta Braves didn’t provide a very formidable opponent in St. Louis’ latest series. But they’re still a major league team and the wins still count.
Hopefully Atlanta was just the tonic the Cardinals needed to get their feet underneath them -- and now they can turn the corner on playing more balanced and fundamental baseball at home.