Troy Glaus, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Brendan Ryan, Rick Ankiel, and now, Ryan Ludwick. All key components and all on the DL. The St. Louis medical staff is working overtime trying to treat the wounds that keep piling up in the Cardinals clubhouse. While the clubhouse is looking more and more like an Emergency Room, the rest of the coaching staff is flipping coins, drawing straws, and playing "Rock, Paper, Scissors"trying to put together a lineup each night. While the injuries continue to pile up, so do the losses. The Cardinals, who at one point, were 10 games over .500 and had a little breathing room in the division, have now lost 7 of their last 10 games, and are in a 3 way tie for 1st with the Brewers and the Reds. It's nowhere near "panic time", but somehow, we do need to find a way to stop the bleeding.
Troy Glaus started the season on the DL, recovering from off season shoulder surgery. So, we haven't really "lost" him to injury as much as we've "missed" him because of an injury. Carpenter seems to be well on his way back to the mound, with nothing but positive feedback coming from his rehab. Hopefully, Carp will be back on the mound within a couple of weeks. Rick Ankiel was spared from what not only could have been a career ending injury, it very easily could have been a life altering injury. I believe all he needs is a little time to let the bruising and aches go away, and he'll be back very shortly. Ankiel has never come across as one who would be sidelined for any more time than absolutely necessary. Brendan Ryan, who has proven to be a very valuable utility infielder, has a left hamstring strain to go along with the right hamstring strain of Ryan Ludwick. Brendan Ryan did a great job of covering for Khalil Greene at shortstop while Greene was hampered with leg problems, but more importantly, Ryan is needed to fill in the question mark that has become 2nd base. The loss of Ludwick hurts in several key ways. First off, Ludwick was proving that last year was no fluke, and was hitting for avg. and power. Secondly, Ludwick is really the only "good" protection that the Cardinals have on the roster to hit behind behind Albert Pujols. The result of this being that we will have to live with musical chairs in the outfield until Ludwick and Ankiel return, and hope that Chris Duncan can fill the void that Ludwick has left in the cleanup spot in the batting order.
For all of you Cardinals fans, it's way too early to even think about panicking. I like to look at this as a blessing more than a problem. We can be glad that these injuries and visits to the DL are happening now, and not in September when we should be tuning up for the post season. Hopefully we can get all the kinks out now, so they won't be a hindrance later. After all... we're still in 1st place, despite the injuries, and even with the 3-7 record over the last week and a half, we are still 7 games over .500 for the season. First on the agenda needs to be winning tonight, and avoiding a sweep by the last place Pirates, then it's back home to face the Brewers at Busch this weekend.
Stop holding your breath! We're going to be just fine. Breathe in... let it out... breathe in...