Feldman: It’s crunch time for the Cardinals

Feldman: It’s crunch time for the Cardinals

Credit: Getty Images

St. Louis Cardinals players look out from the dugout during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on September 12, 2012 in San Diego, California. The Padres won 3-2. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

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by Brian Feldman / News 4 Sports

KMOV.com

Posted on September 13, 2012 at 9:05 AM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Goodness, are the Cardinals in desperate need of a victory or what? 

Going into this road trip, the thought was - at least how I saw it - the Redbirds needed to take two of three from a below average Padres team before starting this beyond-crucial four-game set versus the Dodgers.

Winning two out of three was critical.

Winning two out of three was, well, not good.

Winning, um, zero?  Wasn’t really on my mind to tell you the truth.  Yet here we are staring at a Padres sweep as the Cards head to Chavez Ravine. 

This supposed juggernaut of a Cardinals offense went 4-31 with runners in scoring position during the series in San Diego.  Four for 31, folks.  That’s a .129 average.  Talk about struggling.

It’s amazing how much of a 180 this bunch has done compared to this time a season ago.  Right about now, the Redbirds were in the middle of a historic comeback after trailing the Braves by 10 and a half games on August 25.  Atlanta was playing downright horrendous baseball to assist.

Now, it’s the Cardinals who are playing in a similar fashion. 

The starting pitching has been inconsistent.  A good start here (six innings, two earned runs allowed by Kyle Lohse)...a bad one there (three innings, four runs allowed by Jaime Garcia). 

The defense has not been much help either.  They’ve committed seven errors in the last six games.  Some, like Matt Carpenter’s bobble/throw from right field on Wednesday, proved to be extraordinarily costly. 

And we’ve already covered the offense that’s forgotten how to hit with runners in scoring position. 

This is where these men have to dig deep and find a way to turn it around.  It starts with each player looking inside himself and saying he’s going to be the one to go out there and make the play that will make the difference that day.  It’s each guy saying this losing ends now.  If it doesn’t, they’ll be booking tee times in 3 weeks.

There’s 19 games left.  The Dodgers are a game behind them for the final wild card spot.  The Pirates are four and a half games out.  The Brewers and Phillies are suddenly only three back.  Heck, even the Diamondbacks are just four games behind them. 

Odds are at least one of those teams will be hot until the end...forcing the Cardinals to earn their playoff spot as opposed to backing their way in because everyone else was too busy losing too.

Only 19 left....

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