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What Went Wrong

by LS Murphy

Looking back to Spring Training, the 2010 St. Louis Cardinals had only one real question: third base. David Freese got the job. With his recent drunk driving arrest, most of Cardinals nation saw this as the only weak link in the lineup.

Boy, were we wrong.

Freese proved a solid defender and a nice bat. Then he got hurt. But that isn't the only thing that went wrong for this team. If it was, we probably would be heading into October ball.

1. Skip and Brendan - They got off to a bad start. In his second full season at second base, we can all agree that Skip is still learning the position. But at what cost? He's an incredibly gifted athlete and a professional. Despite criticism, he thrived last season. Unfortunately, he got off to a terrible start. In 2009, he had 9 errors. This year that number balloon to 16.

Brendan Ryan, who has the potential to win a Gold Glove, didn't fair much better. With the range to rival the great Wizard, Ryan went from 8 errors in 2009 to a whooping 17 in 2010. And he didn't look like he was having fun. Brendan likes to have fun. We've seen the videos of his jokes and childish antics. When he isn't having fun, he isn't playing like he can.

Skip and Brendan's early struggles should've been a sign. But the team kept us in contention anyway.

2. Brad Penny - Here is my biggest plea to John Mozeliak for the off-season. DON'T SIGN ANY PITCHERS THAT WILL END UP GETTING HURT! Okay, I know that there is no way that Mo could've foreseen Penny's injury but this is a theme with the St. Louis Cardinals. We offer a big contract and we get jack in return because the player gets hurt. Mark Mulder? Kyle Lohse? It's a theme.

3. Kyle Lohse - What a waste of money.

4. Chris Carpenter - Okay, Carp's one of the best but something was up with him this season. The normally cool, calm, and collected Carpenter lashed out. A LOT. Brendan Ryan got a major chewing out. So did Dusty Baker, but Baker deserved it. Carpenter's a leader in the clubhouse. If his anger was that apparent to the fans, what was he like in the clubhouse? Quite frankly, I believe that the lack of anger management took over him on the mound as well. We all know he's passionate but pissed? Something to think about.

5. Tony LaRussa - Now, a lot of fans hope he's gone. I'm not one of them. LaRussa's quirky. He's getting crappier as he gets older. He's moodier too. But he's still brilliant. That doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement here. Maybe it's time TLR realizes that he sometimes over-manages his club. It's becoming a bit of a joke when the lineup changes almost every game. And his public mini-feud with Colby Rasmus didn't help much. Then there is the hiring of Mark McGwire. Interviews showed that they have two different philosophies for hitters. Be aggressive (TLR) or be patient (Big Mac)? For a player, you're damned if you do or damned if you don't. That's not good. I'd love to see LaRussa back next year but he needs to learn from his own mistakes and get on the same page as his hitting coach.

6. Colby Rasmus - I've said it before and I'll say it again: If Colby wants to leave, trade him. Don't get me wrong, he's talented and has the potential to be a great center fielder. But he asked to be traded in 2009 and again in 2010. Let him go and get something in return. One unhappy player in the clubhouse is one too many.

The Cardinals have a lot of work to do in the off-season. Sign Albert. Find another starting pitcher, preferably one that doesn't cost more than seven million for nine games. Find some utility players that aren't named Randy Winn or Aaron Miles.

Yep, Mo has a lot of work to do. It should be an interesting off-season.

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Cardinals Mix blog featured writers LS Murphy,Brian F. Logush
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