Cardinals Report, taking stock of April

The Cardinals finished April with a respectable 14-8 record but there are those in the clubhouse who felt it should have been so much more.

 

“We could have had an epic month, but it turned out to just be a decent month,” said first baseman Lance Berkman, still disabled because of a left calf strain.

Berkman, in part, was referring to four one-run losses, all of them coming in games the Cardinals led.

“I feel like we’re suffered some bad losses this month,” he said. “With the potential that this team has, this is a nice month, but it’s certainly not our best.”

In the bigger picture, though, the Cardinals might have done quite well to be 14-8 in April. They started it, of course, without first baseman Albert Pujols and manager Tony La Russa, who have moved on.

Right-hander Chris Carpenter hasn’t pitched an inning because of a nerve problem which has weakened his right shoulder. And Berkman, one of their offensive stars last season, also has been injured and has had only 23 at-bats.

The Cardinals  split their last 10 games before starting a three-game series with a in over Pittsburgh in St. Louis on Tuesday.

As when they went 2-for-14 with men in scoring position on Sunday in a one-run loss, the Cardinals, despite ranking high in the league statistics in runs scored, often haven’t been up to snuff when they’ve had a chance to drive in runners.

“You’ve got to do that to win consistently,” manager Mike Matheny said.

That being said at the time of this post the Cardinals lead all of the National League in run differential…by a lot. A difference of greater than 35 runs exists between them and the next best team, the Atlanta Braves.

A few notes:

–1B Lance Berkman still has not run after suffering a recurrence of his calf injury on April 19. He is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list this weekend in Houston, but that is not a sure thing.

–OF/INF Allen Craig¬† came off the disabled list on Tuesday after a rehabilitation option at Class A Palm Beach where he predictably crushed two home runs in his final start, and then at Class AAA Memphis. Craig had November knee surgery.

–RHP Scott Linebrink, who has a shoulder problem, felt tightness during a bullpen throwing session on Sunday and does not appear close to returning. When Linebrink, hurt the day after it was announced he made the club in spring training, is able to pitch, he will need several games on a rehabilitation program in the minors.

–CF Jon Jay is riding a nine-game hitting streak. Since the beginning of the 2011 season, he is batting .308.

–RHP Adam Wainwright in his fifth bid for his first victory on Tuesday was finally successful facing Pittsburgh. Wainwright, slow to round into form after missing last year following Tommy John elbow surgery, was much better in his last outing, holding Chicago to one run in six innings in a no-decision.

BY THE NUMBERS: 14-8 — The Cardinals’ record in 22 consecutive games against National League Central Division opponents.

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