The St. Louis Cardinals are breathing a sigh of relief because they will soon have Jhonny Peralta back in the lineup. With Peralta back in the lineup, the Cardinals’ online MLB sportsbook odds of making the playoffs in the tough NL Central will improve.
The Cardinals are currently 13-13 in the NL Central, and trail the division leading Chicago Cubs by 6 games. Peralta, who hasn’t played this season, has been recovering from offseason thumb surgery. According to reports, his rehabilitation has been going well and the shortstop is expected to join his teammates very soon.
When the Cardinals announced that Peralta would miss some time as he recovered from his surgery, most MLB insiders expected the Cardinals offense to struggle. Even without Peralta in the lineup, the Cardinals offense has been pretty good. In fact, the Cardinals have scored more runs without him this season than they did through 26 games with him in the lineup last year.
Despite the fact that their offense is playing well, the Cardinals have struggled scoring runs against good teams, which is one of the reasons that they have been hovering around .500 all season long. Peralta’s presence will provide the team with a spark, but it might not be enough to save the Cardinals’ season, because the team has been struggling in other areas.
Over the years, the Cardinals have been one of the best pitching teams in the National League, but not so much this season. The Cardinals have struggled with their pitching and are the 9th worst team in the NL with 112 runs allowed.
Carlos Martinez has been the bright spot for the pitching staff, going 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA in five starts. Adam Wainwright, their best pitcher for most of his career is 2-3 with a 6.68 ERA in six starts.
When Peralta eventually rejoins the lineup, it is unclear how the team will use him. With Aledmys Diaz hitting .403 with 5 homeruns and 14 RBIs at the shortstop position, it would be hard for the team to start Peralta over him.
The Cardinals could move Diaz to second base and replace Kolten Wong, who is struggling, putting Peralta in the shortstop position. The Cardinals could also have Peralta play first base, but that would mean benching Brandon Moss, who is hitting .225 but also has 6 homeruns and 16 RBIs.
Peralta’s return could also mean the end of Kolten Wong’s time in St. Louis. The Cardinals were very high on Wong but his continued struggles could make him expendable, especially now that they know Diaz is a star and Peralta will be coming back soon.
The only reason Wong will likely remain on the Cardinals roster is the fact that management loves his bat speed, but that might not do him much good if he doesn’t play better before Peralta returns.
Fortunately for the Cardinals, they have only played 26 games, which means there is plenty of baseball left to be played this season, and plenty of time for them to figure things out. If Peralta is able to contribute significantly, they will have a chance to catch up to the Chicago Cubs.