Cleat Geeks

Into the Cardinals Nest: Are The Cardinals a Championship Team in 2016?

 

For the St. Louis Cardinals and their fans, the 2016 season has been rather tumultuous. While this year was not as bad injury wise for them, it is not what fans have come to expect from a team that has been a postseason regular for 5 years straight. Many players, old and new have taken advantage of their opportunities to shine but this team also has some glaring weaknesses to fix if they hope to make it to the wildcard and beyond.

While the Cardinals offense is solid and scores a bunch of runs, a huge chunk of them come from homers. The Cards put together an unbelievable streak of 25 games with a home run before it ended in a recent series against Pittsburgh. While home runs are a nice way to put runs on the board and guys like Jedd Gyorko, Matt Carpenter and Yadier Molina have hit balls out of the park in 2016, it is time for the Cardinals to prove that they can do some decent base running and score runs without the long ball. If they do not, it could be costly to their postseason hopes.yadiermolinahitting

Defensively, to say that the Cardinals have been struggling would be an understatement. Their problems lie in the fact that their starting pitchers can’t seem to get 1-2-3 innings and when they do manage to get ground balls they make mental mistakes or drop the ball allowing runners on or at the very worst, letting them score. Unless the pitcher is Alex Reyes or Seung Hwan Oh, the bullpen makes games way more interesting than necessary, especially when they have the lead. Kevin Siegrist and Jonathan Broxton need to do their part to keep any future bullpen runs to a minimum. The Cardinals could get some help from Michael Wacha and Trevor Rosenthal once they return so the pressure is not on Siegrist, Broxton and Reyes entirely. However, they must put on some decent performances to help the Cards stay alive.

kevinsiegristThe Cardinals must put together some wins at Busch. They are still in the wildcard race and any home wildcard game is potential trouble for the Cardinals at this point. They have a 30-38 record at home. If the wildcard game is on the road, the Cardinals have the best shot of advancing to the NLDS. They have a 43-28 record on the road. Regardless, continuing to lose at home and against teams that are struggling  is not an option if the Cards hope for a deep playoff run.

The Cardinals are not the dominant team they were in 2015 and the division race is all but finished. The reality is that the Cards are fighting for their playoff lives and a wildcard berth as they approach the end of the season. As much as some may tire of the comparisons between the 2016 Cardinals and their counterparts from 2006 and 2011, this team has no choice but to channel that same amount of spirit and never say die attitude that those teams had if they want another shot at the World Series.

 

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