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5 Reasons the Cardinals Won’t Be in the Playoffs in 2010

Winning eight games in a row was nice. But let’s not get carried away from reality. Thank goodness the mighty Cubs were there to prevent us from escaping the truth about this Cardinals team – that they just aren’t hungry enough to win it all.

Reason #1: The defense is shoddy and lax. In the fifth inning of Saturday’s game Molina let an inside pitch get away from him and the runner on third base advanced home on what was ruled a wild pitch in spite of the fact that Yadier had his glove turned the wrong way. To make matters worse, Molina’s throw to the plate as the runner scored was wild to the plate, allowing the runner from second base to also score – two runs on a single play without the ball ever being put into play. Save those two runs and a 6-5 loss becomes a 5-4 win. On a side note, why is Brendan Ryan styling side armed throws to first base? Concentration matters.

Reason #2: The base running is awful. Holliday is forced out at second base when he fails to slide into the base and instead goes in standing up. Molina is thrown out at third base trying to advance from first on an infield hit. Someone tell me why the runner from first is trying to steal second with Pujols at the plate and Holliday (who had just homered in his previous at bat) is on deck. Albert then swings and misses at a third strike and the runner is thrown out – end of inning and no runs. This has been going on all year and it doesn’t look to improve anytime in the near future. Effort matters.

Reason #3: Situational hitting. The team doesn’t do it. Two out RBI hits win games. The team hits poorly with runners in scoring position and they have been ineffectual with the hit-and-run. Brendan Ryan, hitting below the Mendoza line, swings at a pitch on a 3-0 count. Batters swinging at a first pitch after the pitcher has just walked to two previous batters. Strategy matters.

Reason #4: The road. The team is eight games under .500 on the road at 20-28. The only other Major League division leader with a losing road record is Atlanta at 23-27. The Cardinals are 5 games behind the Reds (24-22) when comparing the two teams’ road records only. That’s a lot of games to make up. Determination matters.

Reason #5: Tony has lost command of this sinking ship. Pujols and Molina continue to dog it to first base when running out ground balls. If they are that tired then rest them by sitting them out a game. Who is going to discipline the younger players when they give less than a 100% effort; players giving 85%? The team isn’t giving anyone a “hard nine” innings any more. Respect matters.

Let’s face it, the NL wild-card isn’t likely to come out of the Central division and the Reds aren’t going away. And if the Reds make any significant trade moves then the Cardinals may end up being left in their dust.

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