About a week ago, the Cardinals were excited as Chris Carpenter threw off of the bullpen mound before a game with the Astros.
Then, after dealing with the tragedy involving Josh Hancock and losing four of five games after that, the Cardinals have announced that their ace pitcher will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his throwing arm, which will keep him out of action for at least another three months.
I understand it's only May 5, but the Cardinals could potentially fall eight games out of first place by the end of the night. Not only that, just looking at the team shows you that this team is too weak to contend for the division title. Yes, too weak for even the NL Central.
The starting rotation right now consists of Kip Wells, Adam Wainwright, Anthony Reyes, Brad Thompson and Braden Looper. Of the five, only Looper has pitched decently, posting a 3-2 record with a 2.84 ERA. Reyes and Wells each have five losses and three have an ERA higher than 5.
There used to be a time when the Cardinals offense would be able to bail out that kind of pitching. That time, however, is not now. The Cardinals have been shut out four times already and have scored four or fewer runs 22 times so far in 28 games. I'm not ready to write the Cardinals off just yet. But, it's real close.