By Patrick Kelly
After almost a month worth of games, it appears as if the St. Louis Cardinals are finding the same inconsistencies with their bats that have been seen in previous years. In 18 games played this year, Yadier Molina is the only player batting at least .300 with most of the rest of the team sitting in the .200 range. The consistency overall hasn’t been a problem as much as it is a problem game by game. The Cardinals seem to get one bat per game that can go off in a big win whether it be Paul Goldschmidt or Paul DeJong, but aside from a couple games the team has yet to be able to come together for a good performance that makes the job of the bullpen easier.
When Nolan Arendado was acquired, it didn’t seem as if he would be an instant fix for the offense, but with the season underway it’s clear that is even more evident. The team’s newest third baseman has been good but not as great as advertised, hitting .268 with a .325 on-base percentage along with 14 strikeouts.
The main concern for the Cardinals seems to be their younger players. Part of the buildup to this team over the past few years has been the growing maturity of guys like DeJong and now Dylan Carlson. While both of them have had their moments this year, they have yet to get in the groove that is expected of them to push this team forward.
Currently, the Cardinals are 8-10, tied at the bottom of the NL Central with the Brewers sitting atop the standings, four games over .500. In a division that was expected to be one of the least successful this year, the Cardinals are looking at a tough year of chasing teams they expected to roll over. The Reds seem to be clicking on all cylinders and with Sonny Gray making his way back into the lineup they are emerging as the early favorites to perhaps take the division.
The Cardinals have an off day on Thursday, but play Cincinnati over the weekend. That will be a huge test for the Cardinals. The big challenge will be in the third game where it will be Jack Flaherty vs. Luis Castillo. After the Reds, the Cardinals have a good amount of division matchups against the Brewers as well as the Pittsburgh Pirates in what will be a series the Cardinals have to get on top of early in the season.