St Louis Cardinals News and Information
The St. Louis Cardinals were one of the last teams anyone expected to be competing for a playoff spot, but they have managed to bounce back after a season that saw them decimated with injuries.
The major concern before the start of the season was the heath of first baseman Albert Pujols and whether or not he would need major surgery on his elbow. Pujols opted against the surgery, has not had any problems with the elbow and is producing at a very high level.
Outfielders Skip Schumaker and Ryan Ludwick have had career seasons and Rick Ankiel has continued to solidify himself as one of the best defensive center fielders in the game. Still, the three combine to be average at best offensively for a starting outfield.
The Cardinals didn't make any major moves at the trade deadline, disappointing their fans who saw the division rival Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers both acquire frontline starting pitchers.
One reason for the lack of movement from the Cardinals was the anticipation of getting ace Chris Carpenter back from the disabled list, which they felt would be just like making a trade.
Carpenter came back and pitched in three games, injured his shoulder and was back on the disabled list. He is healthy again but is now being relegated to bullpen work for the rest of the year.
It also didn't help that pitcher Adam Wainwright missed significant time with an injury as well. Todd Wellemeyer, Braden Looper and Kyle Lohse did a nice job of holding things together without the two big guns in the rotation, but they aren't top-of-the-line starters.
Speaking of the bullpen, the closer's role has been an issue all year. Incumbent Jason Isringhausen lost the job and is now looking at retirement. Ryan Franklin took over for the veteran, but then lost the job to Chris Perez.
The Cardinals simply don't have the horses necessary to win the division or a wild card berth. It would be a major surprise to see St. Louis make its way into the playoffs this year.