Nearing the quarter pole, the St. Louis Cardinals are a disappointing 18-19. The reasons for this abject mediocrity have been written ad nauseum, and debated endlessly. Nevertheless, if Shelby Miller can grab the ball and give a solid start Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and ignite a win, the club can return to St. Louis at .500 with the Chicago Cubs in wait. In other words, the opportunity to get well is upon them.
It is far too early to write any team, or player, off completely, but if the Cardinals were to be swept by a previously reeling Pirates team, that could spell disaster for the club. Simply put, this game is a must win from the standpoint of momentum-the Cardinals need some, and need it fast. Miller has been a frequent target of criticism, but his ERA is still respectable and he gives the team a chance to win every time out.
Hopefully the Cardinals employ their most recent arrival, OF Joey Butler, to see what his bat is truly capable of at the highest level. The team lacks fire, and dynamism, and is lately showing signs of a bunch that is starting to look for stamps to mail it in. The classic signs are there-a lack of hustle to first, very little diving, and constant carping to the umpires (I am looking at you Matt Carpenter). The Pirates counter with the 0-4 Charlie Morton, who many believe will be the determining factor of whether or not the Pirates contend.
Whether the Cardinals contend will depend upon whether they can find their smiles, fire, and can-do spirit as the talent is there. They have a way. Do they have a will?