Cleat Geeks

Into The Cardinals Nest: How Can the Cardinals Bounce Back?

JhonnyPeraltaThe second half of this 2016 Cardinal season is turning out pretty badly for them. As of now they sit ten and a half games out of first place with little to no chance of winning the division before the season’s end.  However, the Cards can still secure a spot in the wild card if they can string together some convincing wins along the way. This team has made the playoffs for so long that it would be weird for many fans not to see them play in the postseason. There are many positives about the team but there are many obstacles  that they have to overcome for playoff success as well

The Cards still have a good chunk of the people who helped make last season so great. They just got Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Moss back from injury and the Cards could benefit from their bats getting warm as the team heads into its’ final stretch. Stephen Piscotty has had a productive season despite his recent struggles. He has only accounted for three runs in his last 7 games while only managing a homer. Kolten Wong has only 2 home runs and 14 RBI’s but he is great when he is on his game. The Cardinals have all the offensive ingredients. They need to put them all together.

One huge problem the Cardinals have to overcome is the pitching. While they did manage to land former White Sox reliever, Zach Duke, he was the only help they could get at the trade deadline. While it is a little early to judge, he was not very good in his Cardinal début. The bullpen that is already there will have to dig in the rest of the season to give their closer Seung-Hwan Oh a chance to close games out. That said, the Cardinals still have a starting rotation capable of getting deep into games. The most recent example of that would be Jaime Garcia’s eight inning performance against the Braves on Friday. Adam Wainwright is back to his game winning ways. He gets wins more often than not when he pitches and while Wainwright is not the ace he was in 2015, he still managed  a 2.96 ERA in his last few starts. Carlos Martinez has 10 wins on the season with a 3.86 ERA. The only thing the pitchers need to work on is keeping the ball down and producing more strikeouts.

The Cardinals have all the pieces they need. It is not so much a player problem as it is an execution problem. They need to make big defensive plays when they can. Whether it is a lazy fly ball, a ground ball or a double play ball, the defense needs solidifying the rest of the season if they plan to make it to October. The same applies to the Cardinals base running. Lately, they have run into so many outs at home plate that it is clear how much this team misses its’ third base coach, Jose Oquendo. The Cards need to get their fundamentals straight or risk missing the playoffs for the first time in a long time.

The Cardinals are not doing as well as many fans have come to expect from them but their struggles do not necessarily mean that they are a bad team. They won the World Series  in 2011 from a wild card spot nobody thought they would have. Winning from that same spot in 2016 even with all the struggles would be a bigger story still. All it takes is them getting on a hot streak at exactly the right time. Nothing is impossible in sports and the 2016 Cardinals  have their best opportunity yet to prove that miracles do happen.

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