Continue in 10
MLB St Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals: 2014 First-Half Report Card

St. Louis Cardinals: First-Half Report Card 2014

St. Louis Cardinals
Jeff Curry -- USA TODAY Sports

It has been a season of twists and turns for the St. Louis Cardinals, who find themselves in the thick of an NL Central pennant race that is closer than a lot of people thought it would be. Yet, there are a few cracks in the foundation that could impact this team in the second half. Let's grade the first half and talk about how it could impact the pennant race.

Offense (Grade: C)

Matt Adams Cardinals
Benny Sieu -- USA TODAY Sports

Offense (Grade: C)

Matt Adams Cardinals
Benny Sieu -- USA TODAY Sports

Even though players like Matt Adams are hitting for average, too many bats are struggling. Allen Craig is missing in action, and Peter Bourjos didn't come through with his bat. Rookies such as Kolten Wong and Oscar Taveras have struggled, although Wong has turned the corner a bit.

Defense (Grade: B)

Yadier Molina Cardinals
Jeff Curry -- USA TODAY Sports

Defense (Grade: B)

Yadier Molina Cardinals
Jeff Curry -- USA TODAY Sports

Matt Carpenter and Jhonny Peralta have eight errors but still have high fielding percentages. As a team, the Cardinals haven't done badly at all in terms of fielding and defense. The struggles have come in other areas, and the Cardinals' defense still ranks as one of the better ones in baseball.

Starting pitching (Grade: B)

Adam Wainwright Cardinals
Benny Sieu -- USA TODAY Sports

Starting pitching (Grade: B)

Adam Wainwright Cardinals
Benny Sieu -- USA TODAY Sports

Adam Wainwright has been his usual dominant self, and Lance Lynn has also had a good season, but after that there are question marks. Back problems have hindered Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha is suffering from shoulder issues, and Jaime Garcia had to have thoracic outlet surgery. it's no wonder the Cardinals have been linked to Jake Peavy.

Relief pitching (Grade: A-)

Trevor Rosenthal Cardinals
Jeff Curry -- USA TODAY Sports

Relief pitching (Grade: A-)

Trevor Rosenthal Cardinals
Jeff Curry -- USA TODAY Sports

For all of the issues the Cardinals have faced on the field, they are still in contention for the NL Central and part of the reason is the relief pitching. Trevor Rosenthal has converted 28 of 32 save opportunities, and the other relievers have done quite well this season.

Managing/coaching (Grade: B+)

Mike Matheny Cardinals
Jeff Curry -- USA TODAY Sports

Managing/coaching (Grade: B+)

Mike Matheny Cardinals
Jeff Curry -- USA TODAY Sports

Management has not been an issue with the Cardinals this season. Most of the issues have centered around the Cardinals' lack of hitting in some areas, and the struggles of the pitching rotation behind Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn. Matheny has been a solid manager in his over two seasons at the helm.