Cleat Geeks

Into the Cardinals Nest: How Can the Cardinals Improve in The Rest of 2016?

For many years, the St. Louis Cardinals have been that one team fans could always count on to play a role in the October picture in some way, shape or form. They’ve managed to make a few deep runs in the postseason too.  Before last year’s NLDS exit, the Cards have gotten as far as the NLCS and the World Series. However, with a 40-38 record, many fans are beginning to doubt that this 2016 team will make the postseason. However, the Cardinals still have a great shot at winning it all. They just need to make a few key adjustments in key areas and they will return to their winning ways.MattCarpenterCenter

The Cardinals need a bit of work on their offense. Matt Carpenter has done insanely well getting on base with three home runs, four RBI’s and seven walks in his last 7 games. Aledmys Diaz has also done well in the last 7 games he has been in with his 6 runs on 12 hits, 2 of which were homers. He has 8 RBI’s to his name. If the rest of the lineup could follow the example set by these hitters, they would be unstoppable.  While the Cardinals are at it, they should work on base running too. Too often in 2016, we have seen the Cards work into some good positions only for them to make mental errors and turn potential big innings into quick ones by running into outs. If the Cardinals expect to make it to the playoffs, they need a bit more patience while base running.

The pitching is typically the Cardinals’  bread and butter in most seasons  but 2016 is a struggle for the starters to say the least. Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha and Mike Leake have all struggled to find their rhythm at many points throughout the season.  The best starter in 2016 has been Carlos Martinez.  He has won 7 of his 12 2016 starts.  Overall, too many hitter friendly pitches have resulted in balls leaving the park or hits leading to runs. The starters must keep the ball down to have any chance of consistent success.CarlosMartinezCenter

The last thing that the Cardinals need to work on is their bullpen and run support. Trevor Rosenthal blew one too many saves in Seattle so he got stripped of his closer role and unless their name is Seung-Hwan Oh, the bullpen has struggled trying to keep any leads they have been given. This is largely due to mental errors in judgement on the part of the fielders behind them and the large amount of walks. The most frustrating part for many Cardinal fans is that the collapse almost always takes place in the 9th inning with one or two outs which leads to a painful loss in extras. The team needs to have more points on the board so these situations happen less and less. In return, the bullpen needs to start finding the strike zone and Cardinal GM, John Mozeliak needs to make some deals to help them out.

For a team with a 40-38 record, the Cardinals still have a good shot of surprising everyone. A lot can happen between now and the end of the season and they are merely a game out of the wild card spot. They have a strong core of players and they have almost all the pieces that made them a success last year. All they have to do is string together some wins, especially at Busch, and discover a way to work with what they have.   It will be hard but for the Cards, it is not impossible.

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