The Cardinals are a team that are built to be role players at every position. When one player is hurt, the lineup, the pitching rotation, or the bullpen have to be adjusted and typically someone does not perform as well in their new found duties as fans and coaches would hope they would. That is, in most cases.
When Matt Holliday went down to a bad appendix early on in the season, the Cardinals struggled to score runs in his absence. Players like David Freese, Lance Berkman, and Colby Rasmus failed to produce in places in the batting order that they were not accustomed to hitting. Pressure situations were handled differently and it effected most everyone on the roster.
Ryan Franklin has recently been removed from the closer role in the bullpen. With the adjustments, now it has become a bullpen by committee that is resulting in multiple pitchers not knowing their true roles when coming into the game. Effectiveness has gone down, both in the middle innings and when closing the game.
Skip Schumaker, however, has been absent from this lineup for almost two weeks now. In his absence, the Cardinals have used a hodgepodge of players to feel the gap left by someone that the Cardinals feel is a clubhouse and on field leader. Surprisingly, the group of players that has featured Nick Punto, Daniel Descalso, and Tyler Greene has performed almost identical to Skip.
The problem here may not be the production on the offensive side, but the overall play of all the players involved. The combination of Punto/Greene/Descalso gives the Cardinals a much more stable option in the field at second base.
It would seem that Skip Schumaker does not bring enough offense to this team to warrant his position and downgrade in defense. It begs the question, “Have you been missing Skip Schumaker?”.
It does not seem the Cardinals have been.
Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
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