The St. Louis Cardinals have not started the season's second half the way fans would have hoped. Sending their two best arms to the mound, the Cards dropped the first two games of a three game set against the Reds. Friday the Reds used a throwing error by Allen Craig to beat the Cardinals 5-3. Yesterday former Cardinal Ryan Ludwick hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning to win 3-2. The Cardinals couldn't take advantage of good outings by Adam Wainwright Friday or Kyle Lohse yesterday.
The Cardinals are certainly in the playoff hunt, even if their post-All Star break start has been less than inspiring. Here is a fan's wish list for what we might see out of the Cardinals for the rest of 2012.
Better Pitching from the 'Pen - It's no secret that the Cardinals have struggled to find good middle relief this season. Fernando Salas has not been as reliable as he was in 2011, and the move of Lance Lynn to the starting rotation robbed the bullpen of another good arm. The Cardinals made a move Saturday to shore up their relief corps by signing lefty Brian Fuentes. Recently released by Oakland, Fuentes will take a minor league assignment with the hope of joining the Cardinals before the end of July.
Health - Because of various injuries and ailments, the Cardinals have only had their full complement of position players a handful of times in 2012. Skip Schumaker, Allan Craig (twice), Jon Jay and Lance Berkman have all spent time on the DL this year. Certainly injuries are part of any baseball season, and every team can tell its story of players lost. But the Cardinals have been hit especially hard by the injury bug this year. Whether they make the playoffs or not, fans want them to compete with their best players.
A Hit on All Cylinders - The Cardinals have seen stretches of great hitting from Craig, Carlos Beltran, Yadi Molina, David Freese and, now, Matt Holliday. Finding all of those hitters hot at the same time has been more elusive. It's scary to think of what the offense could do with all of their hitters clicking at once.
A Second Baseman - Tyler Greene, Daniel Descalso and Skip Schumaker have all had chances at 2nd base. Matt Carpenter even got a start there. No one has really stepped up and grabbed the chance. Greene's monthly splits for batting average are .240, .200 and .227 for April, May and June. Descalso is seen as the best glove at 2nd but is hitting just .223. Fans want someone to take the opportunity and provide some production and stability, to the position.A native of St. Louis, Brad Boeker has rooted for the Cardinals for over 40 years.
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