Cardinals Need To Be Healthy To Dethrone The Cubs
March 17, 2017 in Sports News
The Saint Louis Cardinals main goal for the upcoming season will be to win back the crown of the National League’s Central Division from the Chicago Cubs, 2016 World Series winners.
The Cards’ finished second in the division with an 86-76 record trailing the Cubs by a whopping 17.5 games and will try to be more competitive this year to threaten Chicago’s reign. But doing that might not be so easy as they will have some important absences like Matt Holiday and Brandon Moss.
However, their hopes are based on the opening rotation of the team which, if it stays healthy, has enough talent to help the team reach the postseason.
Catcher Yadier Molina, is one of the leaders of the team, not only because his performances behind the plate will be vital once again for the Cardinals this season, but because of his bat. Molina is the winner of eight Golden Gloves in 13 season, but last year he hit for a .307 batting average, and a career high 164 hits.
For this 2017, veteran Jhonny Peralta will be the third baseman and Aldemys Diaz will be the shortstop. Last year the young Cuban surprised everyone by finishing with a .300 batting average while hitting 17 homers and driving in 65 runs.
Defensively Diaz has room for improvement as he had 16 errors last season. However, with a year of experience under his belt, a better all-around performance is expected this year.
Dexter Fowler arrived to cover the St. Louis centerfield and will be joined in the outfield by Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty, who performed well last season. Piscotty had a very good year as he hit 22 homers and drove in 85 runs, becoming the team leader in that category.
Carlos Martinez, who has just signed a five-year, $ 51 million contract, is set to be the ace of the rotation. The good numbers he left in 2016 (16-9, 3.04 ERA and a WHIP of 1.224) make him the most reliable pitcher in the Cards’ rotation.
Adam Wainwright, Mike Leake, Lance Lynn and Michael Wacha complete team’s. rotation. In the bullpen, Korean Seung-hwan Oh will be the closer.
Last year the South Korean was one of the most dominant closers in the National League. In 79.2 innings he had 19 saves, a 1.92 ERA, a WHIP of 0.916 and struck out 11.6 batters per every nine innings pitched. If he repeats those numbers and the rotation stays healthy, the Cardinals may have a chance to dethrone the Cubs as Central Division Champions and get a shot at the World Series.