The St. Louis Cardinals capped their 2016 season with a three-game sweep over the team that swept them at the beginning of the year. Before the Cardinals finished off the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 10-4 final, they already learned their fate after the San Francisco Giants beat the Dodgers 7-1 moments earlier.
The Cardinals finish the season 86-76, one game behind the Giants for the final wild card spot. The Cardinals hung around in the second half of the season after the team with the best record in the majors hit a major stumbling block after the All-Star break.
Matt Holliday took the field in the 9th inning as his teammates stayed behind in the dugout so he could take his final spot in left field. He was then immediately removed for a sub. The Cardinals indicated this weekend it was unlikely the club would bring him back for 2017.
Bright spots for the Cardinals include the emergence of rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz who finished second on the team with .300 average trailing Yadi Molina’s .307. Jedd Gyorko, acquired from San Diego, finished with 30 home runs and Carlos Martinez went another full season in the starting rotation finishing strong. Over the last two seasons, Martinez is 30-16 with an ERA just a tad above three in 60 starts. The bullpen got a shot in the arm from Seung-Hwan Oh who replaced Trevor Rosenthal as the team’s closer and finished with 19 saves and an ERA of 1.96.
Questions for 2017:
How does the starting rotation shape up–How will Lance Lynn return from Tommy John surgery? Can Alex Reyes go a full season in the starting five? Does Mike Leake rebound from a sub par debut? What do the Cardinals do with Michael Wacha?
The infield–Matt Adams is arbitration eligible. Is a .249 power hitter with just 16 homers the answer? He’s played in just 177 games over the last two seasons. The Cardinals will still owe Jhonny Peralta one more year. How productive will the 35 year old be at third? Will Kolten Wong reach his potential?
The outfield–Who plays left field next year?