Dr. Tommy's Checkup: What's Wrong With the St. Louis Cardinals?
- 26th in MLB with 3.5 runs scored/game
- 28th in MLB with .102 ISO (isolated power, or slugging percentage - batting average)
- No more than three runs scored in first six games
- Second-highest ground ball/fly ball ratio in MLB (1.62 GB/FB)
Diagnosis: Lack of power. The Cards have been about league-average (19th) in on-base percentage and have been the third-best in baseball in strikeout percentage, striking out in only 17.4 percent of plate appearances. The pitching staff has performed very well (sixth in the MLB in earned-run average and eighth in xFIP).
Clearly the problem in the first week and a half of the season stems from an inability to get extra-base hits (second-worst in NL with just four) and drive in runners.
Treatment: Water and rest. The best thing manager Tony La Russa can do is simply give his offense time to work through its troubles.
Albert Pujols, the best hitter in baseball, will turn around from his awful start (.150 BA-.222 OBP-.225 SLG) in due time. St. Louis has won its last two games since outfielder Matt Holliday came back from his appendectomy. When Pujols, Holliday and Colby Rasmus hit their stride as the National League's best 2-3-4 lineup combination, the Cards should be in the thick of the NL Central race.