Considering we lost five in a row, and how badly we have done against the American League (where we promptly lost eight in a row), I don't see a playoff spot for the Cardinals. Here is why:
- starting rotation: Ponson already poisoned the lineup as bad as it is. Marquis and Suppan should have been gone during the trading deadline. Marquis can be very inconsistent and Suppan is a hit-or-miss. One game he lasts 7 innings and fans 3-5, the next he lasts 2-5 and gives up ? runs (depends on his control). Marquis is terrible at times and Dave Duncan should shout at his face to "Grow up for god's sake. You're a better pitcher than this." I'd yell at him too if he's on his "I'm stubborn and I'm not listening to Dave Duncan." Let's force old starters out of retirement if all else fails.
- offense (or lack of it): Currently, we are in 11th place in batting average. (from 1st a few weeks) Hal McRae was trying to get the team to focus more on base hits and batting average this year, which may be the death of the team this year. Another 2003 perhaps? Lack of the long ball really hurts the team (21st in Home Runs). I want to see a team that can hit the long ball, get base hits, minimize batter strikeouts and maintain a good BA. Maybe after the season, see how he's doing his job, and if he's doing poorly, then it's a new hitting coach. Look at 2004 for example for a good hitting team. This 2006 team is NOWHERE near that.
- bullpen: where do I start? Thompson turned out to be decent, and Tyler Johnson is just a mediocre lefty RP. Our bullpen slipped drastically in ERA when the Ponson Virus struck. Maybe Jorge Sosa should give a little relief to back up the team, and let Duncan talk if he is having trouble. Scold if he's not listening
- subpar trades/free agent signings: Walt Jocketty is a good GM, but he made two horrendous signings that he'll regret this season: Junior Spivey and Sidney Ponson. Spivey may not even recover from his horrible Spring Training, which probably means he's close to being out of baseball, and we all know what happened to Ponson. Encarnicion is a good fielder and sometimes gets fans discouraged when batting. I'm not saying "CARDS FREE AGENT SIGNINGS STUNK LAST WINTER," I'm saying that we could have done a bit better, and good thing we didn't sign AJ Burnett. (sorry Jays fans)
- Left Field, the random LF: Who gets to play Left is random every day. We could have traded a couple people for Abreu and moved Encarnicion to LF (his first OF position) until the evil Yankees stole him.
- Fans (unrelated to Cardinals' success): my major complaint is not about the team or anything, but it's the loudmouthed fans who are disruptive and rude during the games. This isn't a reason related to the postseason, but it's annoying to hear fans so drunk they get disruptive and foulmouth each other.
My major problem unrelated about this is left field seats at the New Busch Stadium. You can barely see the outfield, in some sections. I sat there for one game, and I regret it.
You can discuss why, because the Cardinals have been struggling all year (injuries, rotation, etc.)