Yes, it’s been a frustrating season so far for the National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals. I’ve found myself less enthusiastic about them for sure and, if we’re ranking our favorite Cardinals teams, at the moment they’d be near the bottom of those I’ve watched in my now-15th season as a fan.
But it could be worse.
Looked at the standings lately?
The World Series Champion Boston Red Sox are currently 38-45 and last night were no-hit by Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs for 7 2/3 innings before losing to the Cubs 2-0 and finishing with just two hits. They’re in fourth place in the American League East, 6 1/2 games behind the division-leading Blue Jays and 7 games back in the AL wild card standings.
Then there are the Cardinals’ opponent for the next three games, the San Francisco Giants.
After going 19-9 in May, they had the best record in MLB at 37-20 on June 1 and a 7 1/2 game lead in the National League West, which grew to 9 1/2 games on June 8 … and has been falling ever since. Their record in June was 10-16, which included sweeps by the Nationals. Rockies, White Sox and Reds. The Dodgers win over the Cards on Sunday and the Reds completing a four-game sweep of the Giants put the two teams into a tie in the West, plus the Dodgers’ win last night while the Giants were off means the Cards will be facing the second-place Giants. Now, the Giants still are 10 games over .500 at 46-36, but they were 21 games over at one point.
As my Giants fan pal at work described it, being a Giants fan now has become baseball purgatory — paying for the sins of their May success. He is hoping their epic June swoon obviously turns into a much better July.
And, as Cards fans, that’s what we’re certainly hoping for our own team too — although we’ve been hoping for that after their 14-14 April, 15-12 May and 14-13 June.
We’ll see. The Cards do still have 13 games left with the best-record-in-the-NL Milwaukee Brewers, who are 51-33 and have a 6 1/2 game lead over St. Louis. The Cardinals and Brewers have split the six games they’ve played so far this season. The Cards also still have 10 games each remaining with the Reds — who were briefly tied with the Cards for second place in the Central on Sunday, until they lost to the Padres last night — and Pirates, who are 8 games behind the Brewers.
So there’s time and the chance to improve there for the taking, as well as the trade deadline for possible moves to help boost the Cardinals struggling offense or battered-by-injury rotation.
We’ll see if there’s any spark or enthusiasm in the team’s play, though. The lack of that has certainly been one near constant so far in 2014.
Even with that, though, it could be worse.
It almost always could be worse.