I know, it's early,but as I write this, the St. Louis Cardinals are five games into the 2019 season and are sitting at 2-3. After losing three of four to MIlwaukee, they managed pull an extra inning win out in Pittsburgh on Monday. Not a great start to the season
However, five games don't make a season. Pitchers don't like to pitch in cold weather and batters don't like to hit in cold weather. Certain key pieces on this team are not yet 100% and the bullpen is still trying determine everyone's role. So keep in mind, it's barely April and there are still 157 games left on the schedule.
Nevertheless, we do complain and well, that just being fans. So after just five games, what may we legitimately complain about.? I'll address some of the complaints or concerns I have in this early part of the season.
Only one starter has gone beyond five innings.
Michael Wacha is the only starter who has gone beyond five innings, when he went the six innings in Sunday's game. MIles MIkolas went five on Thursday, Jack Flaherty and Dakota were taken out in the fifth inning, while Adam Wainwright was removed after completing just four. Not very encouraging, especially from MIkolas, Flaherty, and Hudson who have high expectations going into 2019.
The abbreviated starts have put early pressure on the arms in the bullpen, but with the two days off this week, should ease some of that pressure.Some will say it's cold and pitcher's prefer the warmer weather. It's easier to loosen up and get a grip on the ball in warmer weather. This is the reason pitchers and catchers report early to spring training, the pitchers just need more time to prepare for the season.
To be fair, we need to go through the rotation at least a couple of times before making a judgement. I believe the talent is there and we shouldn't be concerned at this point. So I'm complaining, but not yet really worried.
Paul Goldschmidt batting second
When Manager MIke Schildt announced that Paul Goldschmidt would be batting second instead of third, most of us were surprised. Especially with Paul DeJong hitting behind the new Cardinal first baseman. So far, Goldschmidt has shown he can hit second, but that's not the problem.
Goldschmidt is the ideal three hole hitter, and the complaint is someone else should be hitting second. But that's the question,who should be hitting second? The answer isn't easy at this point in the season.
Ideally, Dexter Fowler would be a good bat in the second spot in the lineup with his speed and some power. After all, that's why the Cardinals signed him, to be lead off or at least somewhere in the top of the order. However, Fowler has gotten off to another slow start(.167 BA) and putting him ahead of Goldschmidt isn't the answer at this point.
Kolten Wong, with his speed and occasional power, has the tools to make an ideal top of the order. He's gotten off to a strong start with an incredible slash line of .500/.550/1.056. The question for Wong and the Cardinals, can he consistently just put up solid numbers, in not great.
Other than Fowler and Wong, there isn't really another candidate. Even though Harrison Bader has the speed, I feel he isn't ready for the role. In 2018, he had 125 strikeouts in 379 at bats.
And this brings me to my final complaint.
Who's Protecting Goldy?
Paul Goldschmidt is off to a terrific start, hitting a slash line of .300/.417.900 with 4 HR and 8 RBI. Just what the Cardinals were hoping. You can't really ask any more of Goldschmidt if he continues to put these numbers up.
However, with the Cardinals leading baseball in strikeouts per game(12.80), the offense seems to be on a bit of a mirage. Who in the lineup is going to protect Goldschmidt.
Currently the role falls to Paul DeJong and Marcell Ozuna, neither of whom are off to a very good start. DeJong has a slash line of .227/.292./409 and Ozuna has a slash line of .238/.273/.286.
The real disappointment is Ozuna, who after off season surgery, was suppose to be a 100% by the start of Spring Training. Obviously, by watching Ozuna play, he is still not healthy. If Ozuna isn;t able to step up his hitting,sooner or later teams will start pitching around Goldschmidt.
This is where Jose Martinez and Tyler O'Neil may start getting more at bats in the middle of the order. Waiting too long to make a move like this, may force Goldy into expanding his zone and start swinging at pitches he can't hit.
These are just some of my early complaints. It's early and some of them may, with time, work themselves out. The rotation could settle down and start giving the Cardinals more innings as the weather gets warmer. Wong may prove his is a consistent hitter and be moved into the two spot in the lineup. Finally, Marcell Ozuna could get healthy and we may see him be the protection for Paul Goldschmidt the Cardinals need.
To conclude, I believe the answer for all these complaints or concerns are on the current roster. It's still early and we need to let these issues play out.
Thanks for reading and you may follow me @frrobinson1957 on Twitter.