The Cardinals: Consistently Inconsistent

Well, so much for the spark Sunday night’s win brought. Back to the one thing the 2011 Cardinals can do consistently well lately: be inconsistent.

The Cardinals frustrated us once again last night, losing to the Pirates 6-2 … the very same Pirates team that was swept by the Brewers over the weekend and scored three total runs in three games.

And, speaking of the Brewers, they won again (and turned a triple play) — meaning the Cardinals are now a season-high serious number of six games back in the NL Central. Does everyone in St. Louis get 25 cent Cokes from Mobil On the Run to honor the occasion? (Quarter rum and Cokes might help ease the pain.)

The atmosphere and crowd size at PNC Park were decidedly different Monday than they were three weeks ago. When the Cards and Pirates met July 22-24, they were jockeying back and forth with the Brewers for the division lead. On July 25, the Pirates were tied for first. Today, they’re 13 games back and in fourth place. Ten-game losing streaks and losing 16 of 19 will do that. Enter the Cardinals, playing the cordial visitors.

The Cards’ performance Monday was pretty typical for the bad games this season. When was the last time we saw a starter go only five innings and give up five runs? Oh yeah, Saturday. And it’s far from the first time the Cardinals have left eight runners on or gone 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Cardinals game without more GIDP to stop any momentum they were trying to start. Two more Monday night, bringing the majors-leading total to 132. (Is that all? Doesn’t it feel like there should be 500 more?) For reference, the Red Sox are in second place … with 109.

On the plus side, Ryan Theriot was 3 for 4 and Matt Holliday had two doubles, including No. 300 for his career. David Freese had an RBI, the fourth straight game he’s driven in a run.

The game also marked the first time I noticed the wild card being discussed for the Cardinals, both on the Fox Sports Midwest broadcast and on Twitter. Thing is, the Cards are now six games back there as well and in third place — the Braves are leading, with the Giants five games back. And to contend for any playoff spot, the Cards need to get hot and stay hot. Which, given the inconsistency, they haven’t done recently.

Forty games remain.

 

In good news for the Cards future, the team signed second-round draft pick Charlie Tilson on Monday, hours before the signing deadline for 2011 draft picks. The signing meant the Cardinals signed all of their top 13 picks for this year and 35 overall draft picks.


Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email aaronmilesfastball@gmail.com. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.

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