The St. Louis Cardinals are still waiting for a soft landing.
One of the game’s most consistent franchises this century – any century, really – finds itself in a free fall after losing eight of 10 games on a road trip that ensured they’d finish April in a most unusual place.
Last in the National League Central.
They also tumbled three more spots in USA TODAY Sports’ power rankings, settling in at No. 23 after starting the season ranked 11th. How unfamiliar is this turf?
Unfortunately, our power rankings archive doesn’t go back that far, but suffice to say it’s been a minute since the Cardinals find themselves in the bottom third. They’ve made the playoffs four consecutive seasons, and in 16 of 23 since 2000.
They haven’t finished lower than third in 15 years, and just twice in the last 25 years.
Yes, it’s still early, yet the Cardinals still have a lot to sort out, most notably the return of prospect Jordan Walker after weeks of soft contact and a crowded outfield situation compelled the club to send him to Class AAA to sort out his swing. And the schedule has yanked them out of their NL Central comfort zone – they’re 3-4 against divisional foes and 7-15 against everybody else.
Perhaps the path will get smoother. But for now, the Cards have a lot of looking up to do.
This week’s rankings:
3. Toronto Blue Jays (-)
What a month for Matt Chapman: Majors-best 1.152 OPS, five homers, 25 extra-base hits.
4. Baltimore Orioles (+4)
5. Milwaukee Brewers (-)
7. New York Mets (-1)
13. New York Yankees (-9)
16. Seattle Mariners (+1)
Small sample, but Jarren Duran has 10 extra-base hits and averaging 94 mph exit velocity in 53 plate appearances.
23. St. Louis Cardinals (-3)
Already eating money: Jose Ureña, due $3.5 million this year, released after five starts with 9.82 ERA.
1-5 against Twins.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB power rankings: Cardinals stumble to last in NL Central standings
Source: Yahoo Sports