Like the Spurs in the NBA, and the Patriots in the NFL, the St. Louis Cardinals have been linked with consistent success in MLB.
Since 2004, the Cardinals have made it to the postseason nine times, the World Series four times, and have reigned as champions twice (2006, 2011). However, St. Louis missed the postseason last year for the first time since 2010, andhave found wins hard to come by this month.
So what is wrong them?
The Cardinals have a bright manager in Mike Matheny, quality starting pitching, a bullpen filled with recognizable names and a versatile lineup. Yet, they're just 3-9 — last in the National League Central — and have lost six of their last seven games.
After starting the season with a dramatic 4-3 win against defending World Series champions and division-rival Cubs, in which new ace Carlos Martinez tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts, St. Louis has been a disaster.
Martinez (0-2), who was stuck with a no-decision in that opening game, was hit hard in his next two starts. CloserSeung Hwan Oh recorded 19 saves with a 1.92 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 79 2/3 innings pitched last season. He has yet to earn a save this season, while allowing five earned runs in just 4 2/3 innings.
The Cardinals haven't had much success at the plate yet, either. The Red Birds currently rank 28th in offense with a .212 team average. They are also tied for 21st in home runs (11), and 25th in RBIs (41).
One reason St. Louis could be struggling, is itstough schedule. The Cardinals have already played the Cubs, at the Nationals and at the Yankees, who just swept them.
Adam Wainwright, normally a trusted arm at the top of St. Louis' rotation, is currently 0-3 with a 7.24 ERA, and has not lasted past the fifth inning. This younger Cardinals team needs its veterans to perform at a higher level.
Considering the MLB season is a marathon, it is way too early to panic in St. Louis. It is, however, time for the Cardinals' talented young players to start performing to ease the minds of their fans.
Guys likeStephen Piscotty,Aledmys Diaz, Matt Carpenter andDexter Fowler need to increase their productivity. Otherwise, this could be a long season for the Cardinals.