St. Louis Cardinals: 2017 Season Review and Offseason Preview

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 29: Jose Martinez
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 29: Jose Martinez /
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KANSAS CITY, MO – AUGUST 07: Matt Carpenter
KANSAS CITY, MO – AUGUST 07: Matt Carpenter /

What went wrong in the Arch City?


Spring training kicked off with their top pitching prospect, who shined at the end of the 2016 stretch run, going down with an arm injury forcing him to have season-ending Tommy John surgery. The rotation also took hits sparingly throughout the season, with the final nail in the coffin being driven in when Wainwright missed crucial time down the stretch. These injuries proved to be a blessing in disguise for the future, with many young prospects getting the call much earlier than anticipated, but we are still talking about 2017.

More from Call to the Pen

The bullpen is what lead to the St. Louis Cardinal’s main demise, with injuries and untimely mistakes during the games (we will get to that in a minute). When it seemed like the Cardinals had things all set in the back-end of their bullpen with Trevor Lyons stepping it up several notches, to go with the resurgence of Trevor Rosenthal closing games out, injury struck again. Rosenthal injured his arm and had to receive a Tommy John surgery of his own.

It’s easy to use injuries as an excuse for under performance, but it’s just the God’s honest truth. However, injuries were only one of the reasons for the Cardinals not reaching their 2017 objectives. Inconsistency across the board proved to be the team’s Achilles heel.


The Cardinals record in one-run ballgames speaks volumes and says it all about this past season. The Birds were 24-29 in one run contests, while the team they were chasing in the NL Central, the Chicago Cubs, had a reversed fortune going 26-17 in games decided by one run. The Cardinals bullpen had 17 blown saves in 60 chances. That right there is the difference between winning the NL Central (or wild-card) and not achieving that goal.

Oh no!

Seung Hwan Oh had a breakout 2016 campaign, where he even snagged the closer duties away from Rosenthal in the process. 2017 was a nightmare for the former South Korean star, however, where his statistics from both seasons polar opposites:

  • 2016: ERA: 1.92, Saves: 19, Holds: 14, Walks: 18, Strikeouts: 103
  • 2017: ERA: 4.10, Saves: 20, Holds: 14, Walks: 15, Strikeouts: 54

2018 better look like more like the 2016 campaign, or the Cardinals will repeat their fortunes of the past few seasons.

Status quo 

St. Louis Cardinals President of Baseball Operations Mike Mozeliak literally stayed pat at the trade deadline, showing faith in his current roster. That paid off for a while, but the team faltered down the stretch. If he pulls the trigger on one more piece for the rotation or lineup, and made the trade for Nicasio, the later acquired closer, the team might have snuck into the postseason.

Matt Carpenter says it all about the St. Louis Cardinals (more than) disappointing season. Speaking of the TCU alum, he battled major injuries and ground out an injury-plagued season. His batting may have been at an all-time low, but he still found a way on base. Major props to “Carp” for being tough as nails this season.

Here’s what they need to do to make it back to October baseball in 2018.