First half recap: The top 6 stories from the Cardinals' season s -

First half recap: The top 6 stories from the Cardinals' season so far

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ST. LOUIS ( -- With the second half set to start this weekend, it's time for a look back on the first chunk of the season. We've compiled a list of our most popular stories from each month of the year so far, which range from injuries, to feature stories, to columns on the state of the team. 

Whether you've watched every pitch or are just catching up, take a moment to recap the season thus far. 


Backstop Brotherhood: What it takes to be a Cardinal catcher  (By: JJ Bailey) 


They arrive early; “6 a.m. to eat breakfast. Then we have early work at 7. No one else is doing anything,” says Mike Ohlman, a catcher acquired from the Orioles before the 2015 season. Last winter he said he learned more in one season with the Cardinals than he had in five with the Orioles. “Expectations are at the maximum.”


5 early concerns (read disappointments) of the Cardinals' season so far  (By: Mike Bailey)


Someone once said, to paraphrase, that a sportswriter’s job is to hide in the bushes until the war is over and then come out and shoot the wounded.

I have emerged from the bushes and it is my unpleasant task to point out the five biggest disappointments/concerns in the St. Louis Cardinals young season. There is no joy in this, no triumph or glee. It is just my duty. And I acknowledge that a mere 10 percent of the season has slipped past us with ample time for some things to change. Here are the issues going forward:


Seth Maness kept quiet because that's what pitchers do (By: JJ Bailey) 


The fear of knife, and the consequences that come with it, is why he kept trying to throw.

“In case it could be my last. You [may not] come back from it. It’s a little bit selfish on my part, but you just want to play,” he said. “That’s a little bit why it scared me. I knew the area it was hurting, and it could be my last, so I was going to try to make the best of it. If I go down (to the minors), I go down.”

It’s an easy mentality to understand. Once the MRI machine whirs to life and the image comes into focus, it becomes real. If there’s a chance, however remote, to push that reality further down the road, most take it. Especially if its arrival could potentially signal the end of a dream and the loss of financial earning power.


Kolten Wong returns to St. Louis with a new position and a commitment to fun (By JJ Bailey)


“Just a different mindset this time. I went down there and told myself regardless of what I do, I’m going to have fun. I’m not going to let at bats affect me. I’m just going to play the game and enjoy playing it regardless whether I’m doing good or bad,” he said. “I don’t play this game for the money, man. Not for the fame or anything like that. It’s because I grew up loving this game, enjoying playing this game. Sometimes that gets taken away from you and you have to find a way to find it again.”

JULY 1: 

Center fielder, bullpen help will cost Cards big in trade market (By Mike Bailey)


What do the Cardinals have to trade for a quality outfielder (Carlos Gonzalez would be a target) and some bullpen help? If you want quality, you can’t scrape together some bench players and under-performers. You have to be willing to part with talent another team might want.

If they think Alex Reyes is nearly ready (I don’t) or Tyler Lyons could start, they could move Jaime Garcia since he looks to be odd man out next year when Lance Lynn returns from Tommy John surgery. Garcia is having a healthy, productive year and may bring something in return, at, of course, a significant loss to the starting rotation.

JULY 2: 

With Carpenter injury, Cards are without their best weapon (By JJ Bailey)


He walks as much as he strikes out (58 BBs, 60 Ks), gets on base better than anyone in the league, leads all NL leadoff hitters in RBIs and is tied for the lead in leadoff homers with 14.

Quite simply, losing Carpenter for an extended period of time is a critical wound to an offense that doesn’t appear able to bear it.

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