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Sitting five games behind the first place Cincinnati Reds in third place in the National League Central Division, the defending World Series Champions just have not put all of their very talented pieced together in 2012 yet.
After Friday night's 4-1 win over the Chicago Cubs, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was quite frank about the state of his team. He says it is time for his team to pick up the slack right now.
"The guys know that what we have is a good club. It's just a matter of us putting our money where our mouth is and playing better and more consistent baseball. We're not sitting back idly waiting for it to happen. Just, so far, we haven't been able to click on all cylinders yet."There have been individual performances on this year's team that are better than the sum of the parts, but there are some solid explanations for the Cardinals overall struggles and just 48-45 record.
- The Cardinals are just 11-17 on the season in one run games, a number that certainly needs to improve if the Cardinals hope to close the gap as the season progresses. The team is also just 2-6 in extra innings games.
- The Cardinals also have hit into 75 double plays, tied for the second most in the National League.
- Finally, the Cardinals have had some base running blunders throughout the season as the team continues to adjust to Matheny's style. The Cardinals have lost 33 base runners on the base paths, fourth most in the National League.
It is the little things that the Cardinals must concentrate on and continue to improve upon in order to stop underachieving and start winning ballgames and making up ground in the National League Central Division.
If the Cardinals don't start executing the "little things" then they have no chance of repeating as World Champions and will continue to underachieve in 2012.