Feldman: Cards offense could be feast or famine once again

Feldman: Cards offense could be feast or famine once again

Feldman: Cards offense could be feast or famine once again

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by Brian Feldman / BaseballStL

KMOV.com

Posted on April 7, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 2:46 PM

(BaseballStL) -- He hates the topic.  Better yet, he despises it.  The notion that the Cardinals are all or nothing, feast or famine, bothers manager Mike Matheny to no end.
 
Despite scoring the most runs in the National League last year among all teams not named the Brewers, finishing second in the NL in batting average and first in on-base percentage, the Cardinals were certainly not the model of consistency.
 
They were about as likely to get blanked offensively by Bud Norris as they were to score nine runs off of Yovani Gallardo.
 
Through six games in 2013, certainly not enough to suggest whether something will be a trend, the signs are there for something similar.
 
How else can you explain scoring just a pair of runs on opening day followed by scoring six, then nine, then a big fat zero, followed up by six and then 14?  Look...when the Cardinals hit, it's obscene.  Just an exhibition - a clinic - on how to get the barrel on the ball.
 
But when they don't hit?  When they're off?  It's awfully quiet.  Take this 14-3 win over the Giants for instance.  For three innings, the bats get lit up by San Francisco ace Matt Cain.  Six up, six down.  Five outs in the air and one strike out.  Not a single base runner, not even a single ball hit on the ground.
 
Nine runs later in the fourth, it's three more scoreless frames after that.  In fact, not a single base runner except for Matt Adams and his two singles.  Then the Cards put up five in the last two innings.
 
No one is going to complain when the hot and cold all happens in one game.  Honestly, their version of "hot" consists of scoring 14 runs in three innings while doing nothing for the other six.  I think any sane fan would accept that.
 
But what happens when the hot and cold happens occurs outside of individual games and stretches into weeks?  What happens when the offense is blanked day after day after day only to become a machine immediately after?
 
It's a risky way to live, no doubt.  You're putting a ridiculous amount of pressure on your pitching staff to be brilliant while things are cold but can pretty much guarantee wins when they're hot.  The law of averages will mean, overall, things will look pretty good once the season is over if you're getting the pitching you need.
 
The playoffs, however, are a different matter.
 
There is no further proof than the 2012 postseason.  The Cardinals lost six games combined between the Nationals and Giants series (obviously, they didn't lose any to the Braves given it was a one game playoff).  Know how many runs they scored...TOTAL?
 
Try five.  Five runs in six losses.  Less than a run a game.  That's going ice cold.  Ice cold at the wrong time.
 
On the other side, the Cards scored 52 runs in their seven wins.  An average of nearly seven and a half runs a game.  That's getting hot.  Red hot at the right time.
 
It's way too early to suggest this is the way things will be in 2013.  But if spring training and a handful of regular season games are any indication, they haven't been able to buck that trend thus far.

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