It’s been a tough week for the St. Louis Cardinals and their fans.
Not only did the Redbirds lose a couple of rough games against the Miami Marlins, putting a damper on their recent hot streak. But then they lost their spark plug, Aledmys Diaz, to a broken thumb. After that, there wasn’t a whole lot of help added to the roster at the trade deadline. Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs made several higher-profile acquisitions.
But none of that matters. The Cardinals must find a way to push forward.
I still believe they have enough talent to be a playoff contender. Now that those players know no one is going to ride in on a white horse to save them, the Birds simply need to find a way to reach down and find out what the guys who are here are made of.
While Diaz is a big loss, the good news is that the Cardinals are going to going to regain three of their key offensive players from the disabled list over the next few days. Matt Carpenter, Jhonny Perata and Brandon Moss will all give the offense a boost. So, hopefully, St. Louis can keep those guys healthy — and then when Diaz comes back they’ll finally be at 100 percent for the first time this season just in time for the stretch run and the postseason.
The reason to be optimistic is that the team seems to have awoken Kolten Wong. He’s hitting .333 over the past two weeks and .438 over his past seven games. Presumably, the Cardinals can restore Peralta as starting shortstop, Carpenter can slide back over to third base and Wong can return to second on a full-time basis.
On the other hand, Peralta struggled terribly during his first attempt to return from a thumb injury suffered in spring training. So Cardinals fans are left to wonder if things are going to be much different this time around.
Another bright spot is that the Birds resume play tonight with a series against the Cincinnati Reds, a team that was among the worst in baseball even before they were trade deadline sellers.
St. Louis simply MUST take advantage of this week spot in its schedule and try to sweep Cincinnati to make up for the two poor losses in Florida.
The Cardinals are still within reach of the playoffs. But they are out of time for excuses. They need to start winning now if they want to run down the Cubs — or at least solidify a wild-card spot.