Mozeliak confident in collective improvement

Cards incessantly tinkering to solve sluggish performance; Grichuk, Wong progressing

June 6th, 2017

CINCINNATI -- General manager John Mozeliak met with the media prior to Monday's game and said that many variables that have contributed to the Cardinals' struggles so far this season mean there is no one quick fix.

"It's been a tough nut to crack in the sense that we've been in a lot of baseball games, competitive, finding different ways not to cross the finish line, which is frustrating," Mozeliak said. "I don't think there's just one area you could pin it on. The ebb and flow of this season has been one of frustration, but I still have a lot of confidence that this team can figure it out."

They endured more of the same Monday night, losing a two-run lead after the Reds plated four in the seventh to hand them a 4-2 loss.

Over the past 10 days, the club has retooled its bullpen, sent its Opening Day left fielder to Class A, plugged a rookie in at second base and continued through a carousel of lineups. Despite the changes, the Cardinals -- for the first time since 2007 -- reached the one-third mark of the season with a sub.-500 record (26-29).

After an 8-2 run vaulted the Cardinals into first place on May 14 at 21-15, the Redbirds have dropped 14 of their last 19 games.

Though there have been a handful of bright individual performances with the recent changes, there has been no collective improvement. Mozeliak declined to speculate about the possibility of another shakeup, but he did acknowledge that "when you're not winning, you have to keep everything on the table in terms of how to get better."

One spot the Cardinals could reassess soon is that which belongs to , who has shown little offensive traction since returning from the disabled list. Peralta is the only player in the Majors (min. 50 plate appearances) to not have an extra-base hit or RBI this season.

Peralta has been knocked down the depth chart at third base, and he indicated to the Cardinals that he's not all that interested in taking reps at first base to increase his versatility. Now in the last season of a four-year deal, Peralta's roster spot is far from certain.

"It is hard, especially when you think about the Spring Training he had," Mozeliak said. "Unfortunately, it's a little bit of a Wally Pipp scenario, because has played so well."

The Cardinals do have a roster decision looming as second baseman (left elbow strain) nears a return from the disabled list. At that point, the club will likely decide whether to stick with Peralta or keep Paul DeJong on the big league roster.

In his first nine Major League games, DeJong tallied nine hits, including three for extra bases, and drove in four. He has more defensive versatility than Peralta, as well.

Grichuk, Wong progressing

Wong, who has been on the DL since May 27, will begin a Minor League rehab assignment with low-A Peoria (Ill.) on Tuesday. He'll remain there at least three days, Mozeliak said, which means the earliest he'd rejoin the Cardinals would be Friday.

After several days of working with offensive strategist George Greer at the Cardinals' Florida complex, on Sunday made his first appearance for Palm Beach (Fla.) since being optioned to the Class A Advanced team last Monday. Grichuk went 1-for-3 with a triple, walk and strikeout.

Mozeliak said the Cardinals will likely "transition [Grichuk] out of there at some point this week" to a higher Minor League level. It's unlikely Grichuk will jump from Palm Beach back to St. Louis, unless the Cardinals have an unexpected need.

Minor matters

• The Cardinals named catcher (Triple-A) and right-hander Matt Pearce (Double-A) their Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for May.

Kelly tallied 32 hits while batting .381 with seven doubles, three homers and 15 RBIs in 22 games last month. His .447 on-base percentage was third-best among all Triple-A players.

Pearce threw two complete games en route to finishing the month 5-0 with a 0.69 ERA over 39 innings. Pearce ranks third in the Texas League with a 2.19 season ERA and second with a WHIP of 0.97.

• Jack Flaherty, the organization's first-round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, made his Triple-A debut on Friday with a six-inning start for Memphis. Flaherty allowed two runs on five hits while striking out five. He earned the promotion to Memphis after going 7-2 with a 1.42 ERA in 10 Double-A starts.