Hope For Cardinal Fans
Though things are looking pretty grim for the Cardinals, after losing the first two games of their most meaningful series to this point in the season, they do have a few things in their favor, mostly though, the due factor. All baseball fans have heard of it, and if any one group has seen it first hand, it’s St. Louis fans.
We all remember the 2006 team, the one that lost nine of their last twelve regular season games, and somehow went on to win the World Series, beating the Tigers in five games. Also, in more recent history, there was the 2011 team overcame what seemed to be unsurmountable circumstances towards the end of the season, coming back from 10 ½ games out of the wild card in August, to go on and win the World Series in seven games over the Rangers.
Given those teams had help from guys like Chris Carpenter and Albert Pujols, they were still playing just as bad down the stretch as this year’s team. Both of those teams snuck into the playoffs after playing terrible in September, and then everything clicked.
We could see something very similar to that this year. Even though no one is feeling to good right now, since the Cards have lost seven of their last ten games, they still are not out of contention. If they can put things together tonight, behind the rookie Alex Reyes, and give Leake at least the five runs he needs to win a game tomorrow, they will be right back where they were at the start of this series, just one game back of the Giants.
Everyone knows what Adam Wainwright can do in October, and Carlos Martinez, who was out last post season, has had arguably the best season of his young career, and looks as strong as ever. Behind them is the impressive young Alex Reyes, who has yet to disappoint, and Luke Weaver. Weaver was roughed up in last night’s game, but he is still the Cardinals best option for the fourth spot in their playoff rotation, ahead of the awful Jaimie Garcia, and Mr. four earned through six himself, Mike Leake.
Although the pitching has been up and down, the struggling offense is where the due factor really comes into play, with seemingly the entire lineup showing their inability to string hits together and hit the ball out of the park this month. We have witnessed throughout the season what guys like Brandon Moss, Jedd Gyorko, Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, and Matt Carpenter can do, and it’s pretty impressive. Unfortunately, we have not seen their best at bats of late. But, there may be nothing more dangerous than a team full of 20 homer guys, stumbling into the playoffs, all due to get hot at the same time.
It would be nice if we could count on great pitching and consistent offense getting us deep into October, but in this roller coaster season, we have to look elsewhere for some kind of hope. And whether it’s the fact that the Cubs are still the same Cubs that have been swept out of their last two post seasons, the belief that this lineup, from leadoff to the eighth spot, is ready to break out of this slump with an explosion of offensive power and production, or, knowing the birds are chasing the worst team in baseball in the second half, there is still reason to hold out some hope for a deep playoff run in 2016.