ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Cardinals are now officially more than halfway through the 2022 regular season, though have made it through that checkpoint on a bit of a skid.
The Cardinals have dropped four straight games and have lost nine of their last 13 contests. It won’t get much easier before the All-Star break with the Cardinals playing 17 straight days before the All-Star break, including several against the past two World Series champions in the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers.
The tough stretch has brought attention to some red flags, but there have been a few positive developments in recent weeks. Here’s a look at what’s trending down and what’s trending up as the Cardinals push through midseason.
- Starting pitching: The rotation has struggled to set the tone in games recently, pitching to a 9.59 ERA over seven starts. Starters have not made it past the sixth inning in any of the team’s July games, and a few five-run innings early in the Braves series have spelled trouble.
- Middle infield production: Tommy Edman, Brendan Donovan and Nolan Gorman, three young catalysts in the Cardinals lineup, have run into some tough luck in July. The three have combined for a .183 average this month, leading to several lineup changes in recent days as St. Louis seeks a spark on offense.
- Situational hitting: The Cardinals have not yet had a game with more than one hit in scoring position this month. The team is hitting 3-for-36 in such situations in July, which included a 1-for-11 RISP effort on the Fourth of July.
- Stolen bases: The Cardinals have yet to steal a base in July, though that could partially be due to struggles setting up opportunities on-base. St. Louis swiped 17 bases in June, though two of the team’s top speedsters (Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader) are working back from injuries.
- Bullpen: Relief pitchers have kept opponents in check in July, holding opponents to a 0.85 ERA over 21.1 innings. James Naile and Junior Fernandez have combined for 15.2 scoreless innings since their season debuts in late June.
- Corner infield production: Third baseman Nolan Arenado began July with a cycle and has been a force in the lineup ever since. Arenado is hitting .500 over 24 at-bats with 3 home runs and 6 RBIs, sparking a rally of four straight home runs in the Cardinals’ lone July win. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt has been steady with eight hits, five runs scored and a .462 on-base percentage this month.
The Cardinals finish a four-game road series with the Atlanta Braves on Thursday before returning home for a four-game home series against the Philadelphia Phillies.