Season Preview: Cardinals Hope To Repair Following Postseason Drought


On October 10, 2012, the St. Louis Cardinals congratulate each other after defeating the Washington Nationals 8-0 in the playoffs. 2012 was the heart of the Cardinals’ recent success, and now, they strive to return to that form.

Jordan Eisen, Staff Writer

In recent years, baseball has been going through a phase where teams either tank for a high draft pick or make a playoff push. Right now, the Cardinals are the latter. Due to this trend, in order to make the playoffs, a team must be good at everything, and great at certain things. With that said, do the Cardinals have what it takes to make the playoffs in 2019 after finishing 88-74 in 2018 and missing the playoffs three consecutive years?

First, the formula for a playoff team must be defined. Take the 2018 World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox as an example, they had a solid starting pitching staff and a decent bullpen, but they also had one of the most dynamic offenses in recent memory.

Last year, the Cardinals didn’t have a quality offense that their fans expect. Throughout the entire season they scored 759 runs, in 2015, they ranked fourth in the entire league.

In addition to being inconsistent on offense, they had an abysmal bullpen. Cumulatively, the Cardinals bullpen ranked amongst the worst in earned run average with a 4.38 ERA. In almost any situation if their starting pitcher failed to make it relatively deep into the game, they had no chance of coming away with a win. Despite all this, the Cardinals decided they want to contend this year and made many smart acquisitions in the offseason.

However, the Cardinals this year appear to have a significantly better chance at making the playoffs than last.

“The Cardinals look like they have a really talented roster this year,” said JV baseball player freshman Noah Sentnor.

Even before the offseason, last year, the Cardinals starting rotation stood out as the lone bright spot of the franchise at times.

“It always starts with pitching, and the Cardinals have a lot of good pitchers,” said varsity baseball head coach Mark Reeder.

To have a season as successful as the 2018 season Red Sox, it requires some luck, but it can be manufactured by using analytics and other resources including trading players to fill gaps.

The Cardinals traded and gave Paul Goldschmidt a $130 million extension. This move shows the Cardinals are hoping to contend for the World Series.

“Goldschmidt will be the power bat that the team has been missing since Matt Holliday. He will also help defensively and be able to play nearly every game, ” said KSDK sports producer, Andy Mohler.

Another new member of the Cardinals is relief pitcher Andrew Miller. Miller has been on numerous teams in his long career, but he’s not the typical journeyman that can’t find a home because he’s not talented. Rather, his list of former teams is because players like him are so rare and sought after by every team.

“In his time in baseball, Miller has invented the role of a relief pitcher that is not the typical closer, but instead pitches anytime from the sixth to ninth innings. [For the Cardinals,] he’ll be able to face a talented left-handed hitter whenever the Cardinals are in a crucial situation,” said Mohler.

In addition to the new members of the team, the Cardinals also have some young stars that will be making their extended debut this year. Almost every position has a clear starter, besides right field. If the young right fielder, Tyler O’Neil can make improvements, he may provide a big power bat to a lineup that has been lacking it.

“Whenever O’Neil comes up to bat, there’s a possibility that he hits the ball 500 feet. His weakness is that he’s always struck out too much. [Lately,] he’s been trying to hit for more contact. I think that if he can figure that out, he could hit 30 home runs.,” said Mohler.

Besides acquiring new players, the current players most stay healthy. Last year, the Cardinals had a share of players that were affected by injury, but most notably pitching prospect, Alex Reyes, who missed almost all of last season due to Tommy John surgery.

“Any team in baseball would love to have a player like Reyes. Right now he’s struggling with control issues, but hopefully he can get that worked out, and if he can, we’ll have a great find on our hands,” said Mohler.

With all of these improvements, the Cardinals have managed to keep their general core of last year intact while adding new talent. The bats of Matt Carpenter and fan favorite, Yadier Molina, will provide consistency in the Cardinals lineup, and pitchers Miles Mikolas and Adam Wainwright will consume innings to allow other, more talented pitchers to rest. Most importantly, these guys will be keys to maintaining a healthy locker room with their veteran presence.

“Anybody that knows anything about sports knows that a good attitude in the locker room can help a team win. It’s often overlooked, but it’s an important part of sports,” said Sentnor.

With all of the ingredients now in place for a great team, the sports community is extremely excited for this Cardinals season.

“With all of the new additions, I’m more excited than I usually am to go to Busch Stadium this year,” said Sentnor.

The countless combination of things going well for the Cardinals could equate to them making the playoffs, and if they get lucky enough, the may have the means needed to win it all.

“Overall, they have a good lineup. I think that if they do some things right, they can win it all,” said Reeder.