2008 St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Preview
Remember when the St. Louis Cardinals (78- 84) lost to the Boston Red Sox in four in 2004 and then won it all in 2006? What an amazing story! Last year was even more amazing as the World Champs became the world chumps, finishing with a sub-five hundred mark and seven games out of first-place.
Although the bullpen looks solid, the all-important starting rotation is weak. Ace Chris Carpenter (0- 1, 7.50 ERA, 3 SO) is scheduled to come back in mid-season after Tommy John surgery. That’s bad news. Lefty Mark Mulder (0- 3, 12.27 ERA, 3 SO) attempts to come back this season after rotator cuff surgery. Adam Wainwright (14- 12, 3.70 ERA, 136 SO) was one of the few Cardinal pitchers that made it through the entire season and was productive. Closer Jason Isringhausen (4- 0, 2.48 ERA, 32 SV, 54 SO, .179 BAA) is dominant as long as he can stay healthy. Russ Spring (8- 1, 2.18 ERA, 66 SO, .181 BAA) is a dominant setup guy.
Like the Mariners in the AL West, the Cards have only one go-to guy on offense—Albert Pujols (.327 BA, 32 HR, 103 RBI). In offense last season, the club was usually in the lower or middle third of the league, including being 14th in slugging percentage. LF Chris Duncan (.259 BA, 21 HR, 70 RBI) has the power to lift the ball out of the yard. Outfielder Rick Ankiel (.285 BA, 11 HR, 39 RBI), a former pitcher, offers excellent bat speed and good power.
The Cardinals were 15th in fielding percentage and seventh in double plays. The addition of Cesar Izturis at shortstop will help the infield, and catcher Yadier Molina is one of the best in the business. Kennedy, at second, is a problem and the outfield is average or below average on “D.”
The mastermind of all mangers, but not the most successful, Tony La Russa is back as skipper despite the fact that Cards GM and long-time friend Walt Jocketty was fired at the end of the season. Jocketty’s assistant, John Mozeliak, became the new wheeler and dealer for the club. That’s the managerial team for now. It could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship or the end of an era. We’ll see.
For more info on St. Louis check out the MLB website for the Cardinals.