By John Edwards
Is it time to panic?
The Cardinals have now lost six games in a row. They have averaged just one run a game over that stretch. Yadier Molina, who some would consider the team's first-half MVP, is headed back to St Louis today to have an MRI done on his right knee and he has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. It is a knee that has bothered him since last month.
As we watch players like Molina and Craig struggle at the dish (yes, both still hit over .300), but it has seemed that as they went so did the Cardinals. Molina is hitting .268 in July with 10 RBIs and Craig hasn't had a hit in a game since July 24, which makes him 0-for-22 with 10 strikeouts. I think there is room to be worried.
There are some concerns with the pitching staff as they were once ranked No. 1 in every category but have now been overtaken by the Pirates. Overall, the team pitching numbers are still very good with a 3.42 ERA and 60 quality starts in 105 games. But Jake Westbrook, Shelby Miller and Lance Lynn have struggled in their past couple of starts and pitchers like Fernando Salas (no idea why he was around) and his 4.79 ERA have killed the Cardinals in times when he was desperately needed.
At the beginning of the season, the experts liked the Reds to win the Central with the Cardinals right behind them. No one considered the Pirates because, well, they are the Pirates and haven't been relevant since the 1990s. But after seeing the Pirates over the past couple of days, I do not see them fading anytime soon.
If the Cards want to make the post-season, they need to get back to what made them successful over the first 100 games this season. Patient at-bats, strong pitching, and better fielding (not to pile on Matt Holliday because everyone else will). If they can do all three of those things, I think they have what it takes to make a run into late October. That being said, is it time to panic yet Cardinal Nation?
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