The St. Louis Cardinals are in the midst of some very good play; they have won six of their last seven games. This is good news for the Cardinals and their fans, as they need to keep up the good play if they want to hang on to the second wild card spot that they currently possess. The Cards are also just a game and a half back of the first wild card spot held by the San Francisco Giants.
St. Louis Cardinals: Who’s Hot, Who’s Not (8/23)
There are many other talented teams who are vying for that second wild card spot; (entering Tuesday) the Miami Marlins (1.5 games back), Pittsburgh Pirates (3.5 half games back), and the New York Mets (4.5 games back).
Let’s take a look at who’s hot and who’s not for the Redbirds.
Peralta is hitting .444 in during the past week, including three hits in each of the Cardinals’ last two games.
Hazelbaker was off to an incredible start to the season, but then seemed to go ice cold. However, Hazelbaker is now on a hot streak. In his past four games, Hazelbaker is hitting .400 with three homers and four RBI.
Grichuk went 0-4 in the Cardinals’ 9-0 win on Sunday against the Phillies. In the seven games before that, he hit .385, racking up a ton of extra-base hits – including the game-winning RBI double on Friday night against the Phillies.
4. Jedd Gyorko
Gyorko’s average hasn’t been very good the past five games (.227), however he does have three home runs during that span. That includes the game-tying, two-run home run in the 9th inning on Friday that allowed Grichuk’s game-winning RBI double in the 11th.
5. Mike Leake
Leake’s ERA on the season is close to five (in case you aren’t too familiar with ERA, that’s bad). On Sunday, however, Leake looked great. He pitched seven shutout innings and struck out eight en route to the Cardinals’ 9-0 win.
6. The Bullpen
Aside from Jonathan Broxton, the St. Louis bullpen during the past week has been lights out. They have not surrendered a single run (again, leaving out Broxton) during their last 13.2 innings pitched. That’s a great sign for the Cardinals and their fans.
In Martinez’s start last Wednesday against the Houston Astros, he was phenomenal. Martinez took a no-hit bid into the 6th inning and ended up going seven innings while giving up just three hits and one earned run. Martinez is the Cardinals’ most talented starting pitcher and they need him to keep up his good pitching the rest of the year and carry that into the postseason.
1. Jonathan Broxton
Broxton has had three appearances over the past week with an ERA of 7.71 during that span. That ERA would have been much worse if it hadn’t been for pitchers coming in after Broxton had let men on base, and those pitchers shutting down their opponents and cleaning up Broxton’s mess. Cardinal’s manager Mike Matheny keeps putting Broxton in during close games; which is mind-boggling, considering all Cardinal fans know how much Broxton has been struggling.
Molina is rarely on a list like this, but he is just 3-21 during the past week. Hopefully, he can get back on track offensively this week.
Arguably the Cardinals’ best hitter, Carpenter needs to get back to what he’s been doing all year: leading this offense. Carpenter is just four for his last eighteen. Lately, Matheny has been having Carpenter bat third in the lineup; which is a bad move. Matheny tried moving Carpenter around the lineup last year (since he was the Cardinals’ most productive hitter, to try and produce more runs for the Cardinals), but when Matheny did that, Carpenter struggled. Carpenter has always performed best as a lead-off hitter, and that’s where he should stay.
The Cardinals start a three-game series with the Mets tonight. Let’s see if St. Louis can continue their recent success.