(BaseballStL) -- It would be helpful if a bell would ring when a team’s season is turning around.
But it doesn’t. In fact, turnarounds seldom occur in any definitive way – just many small improvements that slowly turn the tide.
Single events don’t necessarily reflect permanent change and Cardinal manager Mike Matheny should be commended for understanding that.
“We’ve been talking about how maybe this is the thing that takes us off or maybe that, and we’re at the point where we just have to be relentless,” he said after Thursday’s shaky win against the last place Chicago Cubs.
“There’s not going to be one particular game or one particular big win or big hit that’s necessarily going to make it happen,” Matheny said. “We’ve been talking a lot about somebody getting that big hit, but we have to do it again tomorrow.”
Tomorrow is always the issue in a 162-game season. One victory, one hit does not start a trend. The fact this is only the second time in a month the Cardinals have won back-to-back games is testament to that.
But a quick glance at the last several games shows some reason for optimism, save Monday night’s debacle. The Cards have won three of the last four and though it wasn’t always pretty, have won two of the last three series.
The inability to score at least four runs a game cost them many wins early in the season. But they have plated at least four in 12 of the last 16 games, winning eight of them (and none when they didn’t).
While they still are hitting weakly with runners in scoring position, Jhonny Peralta and Peter Bourjos have added 50 points to their averages in the last few weeks and Allen Craig has shown the first signs of returning to form, batting over .300 in his last 7 games.
With Kolten Wong and Jaime Garcia returning to the big club and Jason Motte not far behind, the infusion of eager new talent may energize the Cardinals.
But if not, General Manager John Mozeliak has made it clear he will not wait for a miracle. Unlike many franchises content to allow an underachieving club to muddle through the season, Mozeliak has, as always, addressed the poor performance with blunt pragmatism.
He is a businessman who understands that when strategies fail, new plans must be made. His recent comments concerning the opportunities for clubs to significantly improve as the July trade deadline approaches could not be clearer.
There are plenty of tomorrows between now and July but a limited amount of time.