Kolten Wong (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images)

A review of the St. Louis Cardinals’ 12-12 April, which put them in third place in the National League Central Division

A review of the St. Louis Cardinals’ 12-12 April, which put them in third place in the National League Central Division.

Uneven play led to a 12-12 April in which the St. Louis Cardinals finished the month in third place (or worse) for the first time since 2008. In the standings, St. Louis was six games behind the first-place Cubs after going just 5-6 at home.

In eight games against standout competitors Pittsburgh, Chicago and Washington, St. Louis won just once. The month ended on a down note, with a three-game losing streak, including the Nationals’ first series win at Busch Stadium in nine years.

Defense was a major issue. The team averaged one error per game, with their 24 through April representing the highest miscue rate in MLB.

St. Louis’ pitching staff, usually among the leaders, was a middle of the pack bunch with an ERA of 3.94, which placed them 16th of the 30 clubs. The offense was feast or famine – leading baseball in scoring – but they came in bunches.

In seven of their 12 wins, the Cardinals amassed double-digit run totals, but all were posted against teams with losing records. On the other hand, in their seven losses to top clubs, the Cards averaged just 2.3 runs per game.

Ace Adam Wainwright struggled to a 7.16 ERA, second worst among NL starters, to go with 11 walks and 14 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings. Teammate Mike Leake was fourth from the bottom, lugging a 5.83 ERA through his five April starts.

Among hitters mostly missing in action were Randal Grichuk (.189), Kolten Wong (.226) and Jedd Gyorko (.228), along with Matt Adams (6 RBI, 38 percent strikeout rate).

In the second inning of the Opening Day loss in chilly Pittsburgh, Tommy Pham had to leave the game with an oblique strain that put him on the disabled list. Shortstop Aledmys Diaz soon made his MLB debut as a result and took the game by storm, registering a .423 average to lead the entire league.

http://www.scout.com/player/187201-aledmys-diaz?s=321

Shortstop Miguel Tejada returned from the DL on the 18th, sending Greg Garcia down to Triple-A Memphis. Due to his offense, Diaz played most often despite co-leading MLB with five errors. He was followed by Wong with four miscues, who at times made spectacular plays, only to muff more routine ones.

Another rookie, Jeremy Hazelbaker, also a beneficiary of Pham’s injury, started red hot (.481 average) through his first nine games, but the outfielder cooled off almost as quickly.

http://www.scout.com/player/67461-yadier-molina?s=321

Catcher Yadier Molina, playing almost all of the time with Brayan Pena on the DL, finished April on an 11-game hitting streak and 18-game on-base stretch. Despite a .230 batting average, leadoff man Matt Carpenter led the team with 17 RBI.

Carlos Martinez paced the rotation, going 4-0, 1.93. Closer Trevor Rosenthal was 5-for-5 in saves with 16 strikeouts in eight innings.

http://www.scout.com/player/204704-seung-hwan-oh?s=321

Newcomer Seung-hwan Oh was heavily used, pitching in half of the team’s games in April and showing he will be an important member of the relief corps. The Korean veteran allowed just two earned runs in 13 innings and struck out 19 against just six walks.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Expanded Cardinals Extended Spring Training

Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system. Take advantage of our seven-day free trial.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2016 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


The Cardinal Nation Top Stories