Hard as it might be to believe, occasionally sportswriters are wrong. They will never admit it, but at rare times, it is so.
Based on experience, observation, past performance and intangibles, assessments are made on what to expect from both the team and individual players. Sometimes, those just aren’t accurate. To wit:
1). The Cardinals offense in 2016 will be anemic because they have no predictable power. Hahahaha. Before Wednesday’s game, the Cardinals led the National League in both runs scored (352) and home runs (87). They are first in OPS, second in slugging, third in on-base percentage and fourth in team batting average. They are second in doubles (125). Three regulars are hitting north of .300.
2). Brandon Moss and Matt Adams will compete for playing time and the loser will be a bench player. It started that way, but both are so hot that regulars are being benched to make playing time for BOTH of them. And how could you not? Adams is hitting .320 with nine bombs, 33 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .346. Moss has 15 dingers, 34 RBIs and while he’s hitting .258, has an on-base percentage of .341. These guys have to play. Both of them.
3). The Redbirds will be solid up the middle with Jhonny Peralta and Kolten Wong. Well, that’s a nice thought, but neither part of that equation came to pass. Peralta hurt himself in the spring and so unsure were the Cardinals of Aledmys Diaz that they signed Ruben Tejada, a poor fielder who hits with a balsa wood bat. (Not really). Diaz is now a rookie of the year candidate, Peralta is at third base and Wong is playing center field for Memphis and absolutely tearing it up. His first game after demotion he hit two taters, one of them a walk-off grand slam. This week, he littered the parking lot with two more. He’s hitting over .400 in Memphis. And while the Cards may not be serious about him as a center fielder, one last shot with the big club would be worth it for a guy as supremely talented as he is.
4). The Cardinals will miss Jason Heyward terribly. Who? Oh, you mean that guy who was paid $184 million to hit .235, worse than 39-year-old journeyman catcher David Ross? The guy who is making $50,000 A DAY to lead his team in grounding into double plays? That guy? Simple question; Would you rather have Heyward or Stephen Piscotty, who is better than Heyward in EVERY offensive statistical category; average, home runs, triples, doubles, hits, runs scored and RBIs? Easier than the ultimate question of Ginger or Mary Ann.
5). The Cardinals will be in the pennant race because they have one of the best starting rotations in the National League. Sorry, that is incorrect, but we have some nice parting gifts for you. The starting pitchers have been better lately, which only demonstrates how awful they were. Even with a more consistent outing from all of the starters, they still have cumulative ERA of 4.31, hardly the stuff dreams are made of. Mike Leake and Adam Wainwright have begun to round into form, but their ERAs are 4.08 and 5.21 respectively. Carlos Martinez leads the staff with seven wins and an ERA of 3.46 but lost five straight decisions at one point. Michael Wacha? Well, I was a year younger the last time he won a game. He has a loss or a no-decision in his last nine starts and a 4.91 ERA. Thinking the guys don’t score for him perhaps? Average run support in games he pitches is 5.57 runs.