What began as a skid, then turned into a slump, now has become simply disastrous. The Cardinals entered May not only leading the division, but they had one of the best records in all of baseball. Since the new month began the team has lost 12 of the last 16 games. The trip to Texas continued the nightmare with an ugly loss of 3-7 to open the series.
Miles Mikolas was unable to pitch out of the 2nd inning in Arlington when the Texans scored 7 runs in the bottom half of the second frame. While the bullpen was able to bail him out preventing any further scoring, the damage had already been done. The offense continued to be far too quiet leading to another lopsided loss.
Mikolas began the season looking like the Cardinals probable ace. Unfortunately, the entire starting rotation is struggling to perform to expectations and Miles is not exempt from that. All Five starters currently have an ERA that is above 4.00 and struggle to pitch deep into games. The rotation is in bad shape. It may be time to consider making changes and the best options may be outside of the organization. Possibly Madison Bumgarner, or Dallas Keuchel?
The team has either been explosive, or seemingly nonexistent. In their four May victories the Cardinals have outscored the competition 42- 8. In the 12 losses they were outscored 25-76. Lopsided wins, embarrassing losses, and games that were within reach that slipped away. Making matters worse, they have left the 3rd most runners on base of all teams in 2019. The opportunities have been there but they simply are failing to deliver in key situations.
One of the biggest frustrations has been Matt Carpenter. In the last 7 games Carp is batting just .100. Maintaining his position as the leadoff hitter has taken a toll on the teams offense. His season BA is .200, with RISP he is batting .182, with runners on .167, and when the count is 3-2 he’s batting .103. He fails to provide any cushion for Goldschmidt who has been off to a slow start as well. It’s not a good strategy to place your worst batting starter in the leadoff position, and perhaps it is time that Mike Shildt makes that change. Carpenter is off to a similar start to the one he had in 2018, hopefully he turns it around soon.
The Cardinals are searching for answers in the bullpen as well. Recently Luke Gregerson was designated for assignment and Dominic Leone was optioned to AAA Memphis. Carlos Martinez has been activated from the Injured List and will be looking to make his 2019 debut sometime this weekend. Ryan Helsley also has joined the team in Texas. Gant, Hicks, and Brebbia all have been holding their own while consistency has not been there for other members of the pen.
May has been bad to say the least. Hopefully the team can get back on track before the hole gets too much deeper. Fans are beginning to lose optimism, and the excitement of what could be is turning into frustration and disappointment. As they search for sunlight in this dark time, the Blues continue to push for a chance to play for the Stanley cup. The have tied the NHL Conference final series 2-2 and look to beat the Sharks in San Jose Sunday afternoon.