Welcome To The Redbird Review. 

It’s Monday June 21. The Cardinals just lost three out of four in Atlanta and have the day off before opening a two-game series at Detroit. But I’m writing. 

THE TROUBLING STATE OF THE OFFENSE: What’s the word … dormant? Unfruitful? Frigid? Hey, you choose! Anyway, I used a slightly different version of one stat (about runs scored) in a piece I wrote earlier on Monday, so pardon my redundancy.

But here’s the skinny. A few items for your perusal: 

Among the 30 MLB teams since May 1, only the Pittsburgh Pirates (143) have scored fewer runs than the Cardinals (170.) 

After topping out with a team .409 slugging percentage through May 5, the Cardinals are slugging .355. That ranks 29th in MLB over that time, ahead of Arizona (.342.) And the Cardinals are 27th with a count of 37 home runs since May 6, averaging 0.9 per game. 

In going 6-12 in their last 18 games through Sunday, the Cards scored 3 runs or fewer 12 times and 2 runs or less 10 times while averaging 3.0 per game. 

It’s been a rough June. Not only are the Cardinals 6-12 this month, but their hitters rank last in the majors in runs (54), OBP (.244), slugging (.325) and are tied for last with 12 homers. They are next to last in batting average (.215) and OPS (.609.) It’s hard to win when your team is averaging 2.7 runs per game for the month. 

In their last five losses the Cardinals went 15 for 240 (.107 average) with three total runs scored. But at least they muscled up for seven total runs in that three-game sweep of Miami last week. 

If this offense can’t reload, get on base more frequently, and recharge the power — well, if you think things are bad now, just wait.

UPDATE ON THE OUTFIELD EXPERIMENT: Despite the exciting power and productivity from Tyler O’Neill, and the high-OBP skill of rookie Dylan Carlson, the Cardinals outfield is below average offensively as a whole. As a group, Cards outfielders are batting .232 (23rd) with a .307 OBP (25th), .401 slug (20th) and .708 OPS (21st.) Based on park-and-league adjusted runs created, the STL outfield is six percent below league average offensively so far. With O’Neill doing much of the damage, the outfield ranks tied for 12th in MLB with 30 homers — but is only 25th in RBI, with 89. 

Why the drag? Well, basically it comes down to this: Counting only the at-bats taken by a hitter when being used as an outfielder, Harrison Bader, Justin Williams, Lane Thomas and Jose Rondon are a combined 37 for 230, an average of .161. And they’ve combined for only 18 RBI in 265 plate appearances.  And then there’s Tommy Edman. In his plate appearances as a right fielder  Edman is batting .245 with a .276 OBP. 

BELIEVE IT OR NOT: There are three MLB hitters with a lower batting average than Lane Thomas among those who have a minimum of 58 plate appearances this season:

  • Edwin Rios, .078
  • Jarred Kelenic, .096
  • Matt Joyce,  .100
  • Lane Thomas,  .104

On the other hand, MLB pitchers are batting 9 points higher ( .113) than Lane Thomas this season.

EDMAN’S ONBASE PERCENTAGE: Earlier I mentioned how the team is straining for offense since early May. As the leadoff hitter, Edman obviously has a major role in fire-starting the lineup. But in his last 39 games going back to May 6, Tommy is batting .236 with a .270 OBP and .616 OPS. Just in case you haven’t noticed, Edman’s strikeout rate has spiked this month.

After striking out in only 9.5% of his plate appearances in April and May, Edman has a strikeout rate of 21.1% in his 71 PA in June. That’s among the reasons for Edman’s glaringly inadequate .225 OBP in June. 

This is hardly a unique observation or molten take, but manager Mike Shildt should think hard about trying Dylan Carlson at leadoff for a while. Edman’s leadoff OBP is down to .308; that ranks 26th among the 30 No. 1 hitters in MLB with at least 100 plate appearances.

WHAT DO DO ABOUT PAUL DEJONG? The Cardinals won’t do anything with him, except move him down in the lineup. Having DeJong bat 7th or 8th is a recent development, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Since returning from a fractured rib on June 11, DeJong is 3 for 32 (.094) with a homer, two RBI and a 32.3% strikeout rate. After missing a month DeJong clearly isn’t sharp, but the Cardinals rushed him back to the majors after only 10 at-bats (with one hit) in his minor-league rehab trip. Made no sense. Still doesn’t. 

DeJong has hit eight home runs this season, but that can’t be the reason why he plays so much. Put it this way: among 206 MLB hitters that have at least 175 plate appearances this season, DeJong ranks 204th in batting average (.160), 201st in OBP (.251), 180th in slugging (.333) and 197th in OPS (.585.) 

DEJONG’S CONTRACT: The Cardinals signed DeJong to a six-year, $26 million deal that kicked in before the 2018 season. He’s making $4 million this year and will be paid $6 million in 2022 and $9 million in 2023. The team has options on DeJong for 2024 ($12.5 million salary) and 2025 ($15 million.) 

And to think that there are still fans out there who go berserk in their demand that the Cardinals spend more money. Yes, that’s just what the Cardinals need. (See: Dexter Fowler, Miles Mikolas, Matt Carpenter, Mike Leake, Carlos Martinez, Brett Cecil, Greg Holland, etc.) 

A LOOK AT THE ROTATION: The starters have a 5.28 ERA over the team’s last 34 games, but we’ve seen some encouraging performances. 

Adam Wainwright has a 2.70 ERA in 40 innings over his last six starts; five were quality starts. During the same stretch of schedule (since May 23) the other STL starters have a 6.46 ERA in their 94.2 innings. 

Rookie Johan Oviedo has a 3.66 ERA in his last four starts and is displaying improved control, with only three walks in 15.1 innings over his last three starts. And in his most recent turn, against Miami, Oviedo pitched 7 shutout innings with no walks and six strikeouts. 

Kwang Hyun Kim is still trying to build up his stamina after two stints on the IL with lower back problems. But as we take note of his short supply of innings — an average of 4.5 per start — he has a decent 3.60 ERA in his 11 starts. And K.K. has allowed only two earned runs (10 innings) in his last two assignments. That said, yeah, his six walks last week against the Marlins was too much. But at least he navigated through all of the traffic to allow just one run in his team’s victory. He looked good in Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the Braves. 

The Cardinals rank 9th in the NL with a quality-start percentage of 35%. The league average is 37%. Wainwright and Jack Flaherty have combined for 15 of the team’s 25 quality starts. Carlos Martinez has six QS, but the problem (ahem) is what happens when he doesn’t reach the quality start level. Well, how about a 10.55 ERA in nine starts, with 43 earned runs in 36.2 innings? 

MIXED RESULTS ON DEFENSE: The Cardinals’ defense has beed credited with 20 defensive runs saved this season by Fielding Bible. That’s ninth-best in the majors. But much of that comes from range, throwing ability and use of shifts. And truth is, the Cardinals are also sloppy on defense, ranking tied for 12th in the NL with a fielding percentage of .982. Imagine how many more runs they would have saved with cleaner defense. 

WEIRD STAT OF THE DAY: The Cardinals are 17-1 this season against Pittsburgh, Arizona, Colorado and Miami. And they’re 19-35 against all other opponents. 

Beginning Tuesday the Cardinals will play 13 consecutive games against four losing teams: Detroit (2), Pittsburgh (4), Arizona (3) and Colorado (4). Those four opponents are a combined 78 games under .500. And the Cardinals are 23-12 this season against teams that have losing records, but that didn’t help them in losing three of four games to the Braves. 

Thanks for reading! 


Check out Bernie’s sports-talk show on 590-AM The Fan, KFNS. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen live online and download the Bernie Show podcast at 590thefan.com  … the 590 app works great and is available in your preferred app store.

The weekly “Seeing Red” podcast with Bernie and Will Leitch is also available at 590thefan.com.

 Follow Bernie on Twitter @miklasz

Bernie Miklasz

Bernie Miklasz

For the last 36 years Bernie Miklasz has entertained, enlightened, and connected with generations of St. Louis sports fans.

While best known for his voice as the lead sports columnist at the Post-Dispatch for 26 years, Bernie has also written for The Athletic, Dallas Morning News and Baltimore News American. A 2023 inductee into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, Bernie has hosted radio shows in St. Louis, Dallas, Baltimore and Washington D.C.

Bernie, his wife Kirsten and their cats reside in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood of St. Louis.