The St. Louis Cardinals still have some pieces to figure out before they can be considered contenders for the World Series.
While the Cardinals were able to sweep the Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees recently, they struggled mightily this week with the lowly Colorado Rockies and against their division rival Milwaukee Brewers.
With more match-ups coming that will test them further, the Cardinals need to work on clearing up a few key areas on their roster before they can be considered ready for the playoffs and, ultimately, the World Series.
Let’s look at a few areas the Cardinals need to improve.
The Cardinals must have another steady starter
The acquisitions of Jordan Montgomery and Jose Quintana at the trade deadline have proven beneficial already for the Cardinals. Montgomery already has two wins under his belt, while Quintana has pitched in two games for the Cardinals, earning one win and contributing toward another.
The Cardinals are still struggling, though. Miles Mikolas had a terrible outing against the Rockies, giving up ten runs in 2.2 innings of work on Tuesday in the Cardinals’ 16-5 loss. Dakota Hudson has struggled all season to gain control as a ground ball pitcher, with his last couple of outings proving more frustrating than anything else.
The one person the Cardinals’ can count on is Adam Wainwright. The Cardinals’ ace is 8-8 this season in 134.1 innings in 22 games. He has an ERA of 3.42 and 108 strikeouts. He had a no-decision on Saturday evening after nine innings, giving up three hits, a walk, and a home run to Luis Urias. He struck out eight batters and induced 11 swings and misses. Pretty great for the 40-year-old on the staff.
Jack Flaherty remains on the 60-day injured list and has had one outing at AAA Memphis this week. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the outing was only an inning of work with 35 pitches thrown. He allowed four runs on four hits but did strike out two batters. He did give up a three-run homer to Pirates minor league infielder Kevin Padlo.
Flaherty is not eligible to return from the injured list until August 26, which allows him time to get built up for a return to St. Louis.
The Cardinals’ offseason acquisition Steven Matz is still on the 15-day injured list with a knee injury. The Cardinals do not appear to have a timetable for his return as he heals.
It will be interesting to see how the Cardinals maneuver to find consistency with their starting rotation in the coming weeks.