(Busch Stadium) While many took advantage of last night’s postponed baseball game to take in the St. Louis Blues advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, St. Louis Cardinals Manager Mike Shildt also took the opportunity for a deeper dive into the numbers behind his team’s recent struggles.
“I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to take an inventory of where we are and where we need to go,” Shildt said. “Generally speaking, March-April versus May, we actually improved a lot of things offensively that didn’t see rewards. We weren’t able to come up with big hits in a lot of games, I don’t think that would surprise anybody. We maintained a high level of defense relative to baseball in both months and our base running continued to excel.
“Our pitchers need to improve their ability to throw more consistent strikes. We do that and we get our situational hitting, we’ll be back to where we want to be. Most of our controllables are in a positive state. After that, what can you do?”
After drawing 98 walks in the month of April, the Cardinals already have 72 in May. Likewise, after 201 strikeouts in April they enter today with 136 strikeouts. According to Shildt, their hard contact rate has also gone up. However, the team has seen their slugging percentage and on-base percentage go down.
“Explain that when your hard hit rate goes up,” Shildt said. “It’s a process that doesn’t always lead to results and that’s why this game is so fantastic, because it’s one of the few things in sports that has no guarantee if you do it exactly right. For you golfers, it’s a hard game. I don’t play it a lot but you read the lie and you hit the right speed on the all and you hit it correctly, nobody’s jumping out in front of it to stop it from going in the hole.”
“You shoot a basketball shot, yeah it can get blocked occasionally, I get that, but you shoot it right–it’s going in. This one, not so much. You do everything right, you don’t get rewarded, that’s the game. We just need to be mindful of staying with the course that we know works. Over the course of time it works. It worked the first five weeks of the season. Hasn’t worked as much recently. Like I said, we’ve got to throw a little more quality, consistent strikes. We’ve got to make people put the ball in play and let our defense work and continue to take tough at-bats and execute better in certain situations.”
THOMAS 26th MAN
–Outfielder Lane Thomas has been recalled from Memphis (AAA) to serve as the 26th player on the roster for the second game of today’s double header.
The 23-year old appeared in seven games and had four hits, including a home run, when he made his MLB debut earlier this season with St. Louis.
Matt Carpenter, 3B
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
Paul DeJong, SS
Marcell Ozuna, LF
Dexter Fowler, RF
Kolten Wong, 2B
Harrison Bader, CF
Matt Wieters, C
Michael Wacha, P