The St. Louis Cardinals currently sit atop the NL Central Division. The biggest reason for that is their pitching. The offense has been terribly anemic. The Cardinals Hitting Coach John Mabry is not getting the job done. Maybe it is time for a change.
This was supposed to be the year the St. Louis Cardinals offense came together. Marcell Ozuna was deemed the answer to the club’s offensive woes. He was the big bat that everyone wanted in the heart of the lineup. That bat is barely hitting .260 and has only hit three home runs so far.
Ozuna is not the only one to blame. Matt Carpenter has had his own struggles. Dexter Fowler can’t seem to buy a hit. Paul DeJong has gone through lengthy slumps of his own. With the exception of a few bright spots, the offense has looked terrible.
The Cardinals currently rank 21st in the majors in runs scored with 160. That’s 13 runs less than the Major League average. For context, the Cardinals have scored fewer runs than the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are currently 10.5 games out of the division race and have fired their manager.
The players themselves are definitely to blame. They are the ones who have to go out there and perform. It isn’t all on their shoulders though. The coaches are supposed to be there to help them and find ways to get them going.
The common denominator here is Cardinals hitting coach John Mabry. This is an offense that is vastly underperforming and Mabry is to blame. When the team’s best hitters are struggling for what has been nearly two months, then the hitting coach isn’t doing his job well enough.
Mabry is a nice guy. I liked him as a player. Nice and likable aren’t getting it done though. Consider the Cardinals’ team rankings for runs scored in the majors the last several years:
Those are the team rankings since Mabry took over as the hitting coach. 2016 looks pretty good on paper. However, that was the year the Cubs won the World Series. They finished third in the majors in runs scored that year.
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In all fairness, runs scored may not be the best valuation of an offense. Baseball is a game that is won by having the most runs on the board though. So it is a decent gauge of how well the offense is doing. Point being, this team is not scoring runs.
Mabry inherited an offense coming off a World Series win. It continued to produce for two years after that. Since 2014, the Cardinals offense has finished in the top ten in runs scored only once. Every other year they have been near the bottom of the majors with the exception of 2013.
This team has a phenomenal pitching staff. They can only do so much though. The offense has to do better. There has been enough changeover for eight years that the one constant has been John Mabry. He isn’t getting the job done. It’s time for a change.