The sixth inning spelled doom for the Cardinals for the second straight game. Starter Jake Westbrook had a 3-0 lead until Prince Fielder’s two run homer capped a four run rally and the Cardinals lose 4-3 and get swept by the Brewers who now take over first place in the Central. The Cards have been in first since May 19th, but there are 95 games left and 12 more with Milwaukee.
Is it time to panic? Not yet, but there is a troubling trend…starting pitching. I saw Bernie Miklasz’ article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and he had the numbers and they are not good.
A starting ERA over six in the last 16 games and combined the starters could get past the sixth inning in 14 of those last 16. Part of the problem has been Kyle McClellan on the disabled list. Once the Cardinals get him back, he should help stabilize. You would also expect that at some point, Chris Carpenter will start to right the ship and with Jaime Garcia, the Cardinals should have three legit starters.
The main concern is the offense. Now is the time for Albert Pujols to start kicking in. Pujols is hitting .274 raising his average up from .245 at the start of May, but it hasn’t been enough with the absence of Matt Holliday.
Holliday has been out since May 22nd with a strained quadricep. He ran full speed this weekend in Milwaukee and is very close to returning. The other piece missing is David Freese, out with a broken hand. He was hitting .356 in the first month of the season and now with Allen Craig back on the DL, it puts more pressure on other to step up on the offense.
However, Holliday will be back later this week, Freese is right around the corner as well as Craig. Health is tied to any team’s success and if the Cardinals can get and then stay healthy, they’ll be winning their share of games against the Brewers.