So far, the 7-5 St. Louis Cardinals look nothing like the RISP-dominant edition of a year ago. The club is scoring runs in spurts and is unable to develop consistency at the plate. This is not uncommon early in a baseball season. As the swings loosen and the weather heats up, offenses usually begin to click. There is nothing to suggest long-term offensive struggles for the Cardinals unless you believe Jhonny Peralta is going to bat .063 for the season.
The pitching, however, is quite a different matter. Lance Lynn has been his typical manic self, and Shelby Miller has done nothing to quell the myriad of rumors floating around about his arm health. More concerning are the two most recent games where Cardinals starters Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha both scuffled against the mediocre lineup of the Chicago Cubs. This is more than a little concerning.
The club can’t afford to have their the top two arms struggle. Wainwright is a battler, and so long as his curveball has snap, the occasional hanger this early in the season should not be of concern. Wacha, however, is a bit more worrying because his game is predicated upon dominating the swing planes of the hitters.
Wacha, in essence, turns the experience of him into something akin to chopping at a tree with a dull ax. His fastball is heavy and moves in on the hands of hitters. When he is right, he will threaten a no-hitter almost every time out. On Sunday, Wacha was serviceable, but not his dominant self. Part of this is that the Cubs are improved and part of this could be simply a few kinks to hammer out before Super Wacha puts on his cape.
Be it the pitching or the wildly inconsistent lineup, the Cardinals are still struggling to find a groove that will allow them to soar.