X

Have feedback / suggestions? Let us know!

MLB St Louis Cardinals

5 Biggest Issues Facing The St. Louis Cardinals In 2014 Stretch Run

5 Issues Facing The St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals
Jeff Curry -- USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals enter the final month of the regular season in one of the two wild card spots, but issues remain that could derail the team as it enters the crucial month of September. Here are some of the biggest issues facing the Cardinals in the final weeks of the season.

5. Starting Pitching Needs to Gel

Justin Masterson Cardinals
Jeff Curry -- USA TODAY Sports

5. Starting Pitching Needs to Gel

Justin Masterson Cardinals
Jeff Curry -- USA TODAY Sports

When the Cardinals acquired Justin Masterson and John Lackey, they did so in the hopes that would solidify the pitching staff. Instead, Masterson and Lackey have struggled and left the Cardinals with more questions than answers. The Cardinals need these two to sharpen focus in the final weeks.

4. How Will Yadier Molina Be After His Injury?

Yadier Molina Cardinals
Joy R. Absalon -- USA TODAY Sports

4. How Will Yadier Molina Be After His Injury?

Yadier Molina Cardinals
Joy R. Absalon -- USA TODAY Sports

The key for the Cardinals is how will Molina be when he comes back. He will have to warm up the bat, and Molina will have to adjust to two new pitchers on his staff. A.J. Pierzynski is doing an admirable job keeping the seat warm, but the Cardinals need Molina's catching skills to handle the rotation down the stretch.

3. Rookies & Young Players Need to Produce

Kolten Wong Cardinals
Scott Rovak -- USA TODAY Sports

3. Rookies & Young Players Need to Produce

Kolten Wong Cardinals
Scott Rovak -- USA TODAY Sports

Players like Kolten Wong adjusted to the pace last season, although he needed a bit more seasoning once this season started. How will players like Wong and Oscar Taveras fare in the thick of a pennant chase? And will players like Stephen Piscotty get a callup and experience pennant baseball for the first time?

2. Will the bullpen hold up?

Trevor Rosenthal Cardinals
Jeff Curry -- USA TODAY Sports

2. Will the Bullpen Hold Up?

Trevor Rosenthal Cardinals
Jeff Curry -- USA TODAY Sports

The bullpen has been a source of little concern all season, but like the Detroit Tigers we have seen what a bad bullpen can do to a team. What happens if Trevor Rosenthal gets hurt? Does Carlos Martinez effortlessly slide in? Does someone else take the reins? One or two costly injuries down the stretch could harm a team.

1. The Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers MLB
Benny Sieu -- USA TODAY Sports

1. The Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers MLB
Benny Sieu -- USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals would love nothing more than to take the National League Central title, so in order to do that they must beat the vaunted Brewers. Milwaukee hasn't been outside of first much this season, and the teams see each other seven times during the month of September. The season is definitely on the line here.