After winning the World Series just a year ago, the St. Louis Cardinals have lost some major components from such a special team.
Albert Pujols took his talents to Los Angeles. Chris Carpenter was not on schedule to start the season with the team due to shoulder issues.
Pitcher Edwin Jackson, who helped the team to the World Series opted to sign in Washington in 2012.
Despite all these changes, the Cardinals still had a very talented team coming back in 2012 to defend their championship.
The Cardinals were getting former ace Adam Wainwright back from Tommy John Surgery. The Cardinals also went out and signed All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran.
New Manager Mike Matheny was looking to inject some spirit into this lineup and it worked.
The Red Birds started out the month of April 14-8, leading the entire league in almost all hitting and pitching categories, while Albert Pujols remained homer-less for the entire month of April in Los Angeles.
Since April, it seems as if the magic from last year’s improbable World Series Championship has finally worn off just a little. The Cards now sit at a very respectable 46-40, 2.5 games back from the Pirates.
Cardinals Pitching Analysis
Rookie starter Lance Lynn started off the season 6-0 while giving up a total of only six runs in those starts.
Since then, Lynn has come back down to earth, going 5-4 and allowing 33 earned runs through 11 starts.
Former ace Adam Wainwright has yet to regain his dominance since returning from Tommy John Surgery.
Wainwright, 30, has gone 7-8 with a 4.56 ERA through 17 starts this season.
The former Cy-Young finalist has to be frustrated with his results to this point, but his 8.6 k/9 inning ratio equals his highest ever.
With Chris Carpenter lost for the rest of the season due to shoulder surgery, the Cardinals certainly need Wainwright to return back to form.
Luckily for the Cardinals, Wainwright’s best numbers normally come in July, August and September.
April/March- 3.62 ERA
May- 3.30 ERA
June- 3.87 ERA
July- 1.97 ERA
August- 2.27 ERA
September/October- 3.40 ERA
Lefty Jaime Garcia has had a rough go in 2012 as well, going 3-4 with a 4.48 ERA. Garcia has been very reliable in the past couple seasons with ERA’s of 2.70 and 3.56.
Kyle Lohse,33, has been the unsung hero of this staff for a couple seasons in a row now. In 2011, Lohse went 14-8 with a 3.39 ERA.
It looks as if 2012 is bringing more of the same, as Lohse is 9-2 with a 2.79 ERA. Lohse does not get swings and misses (5.2 k/9 ratio), but is crafty and understands how to pitch.
Cardinals Hitting Analysis
The Cardinals are ranked first in the NL in runs, average and OPS.
Despite losing first baseman Albert Pujols to LA and Lance Berkman to the disabled list for the majority of this season, the Cards have found ways to keep the production up.
Newcomer Carlos Beltran is having an absolutely monstrous season, slugging 20 home runs and 65 rbi to this point.
Shortstop Rafael Furcal is having a great season with five home runs, 36 rbi while batting .275.
Since Berkman has been on the shelf, there has not been much production at first base.
Matt Carpenter and Matt Adams have combined for five home runs and 34 rbi at first base.
With production coming from every other position for the Cardinals, they have been able to get by without it at first base.
David Freese, Allen Craig, Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday all have 13 or more home runs 45 or more rbi each.
The Cardinals simply have to much star-power to not be a factor down the stretch in some capacity.
Whether that be ruining a season for another team or putting together a run of their own.
They will most likely be buyers at the deadline, but don’t look for a huge deal to be made just after winning the World Series the previous season.