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Cardinals Win Series Against Angelinos Amid Doubts About Roster Construction

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The St. Louis Cardinals have emerged victorious from a close series against the Los Angeles Angelinos at Angel Stadium, securing two of three games despite the Angelinos' 7-2 victory on Wednesday.

This series win comes as a welcome respite for the Cardinals after a challenging matchup with the Milwaukee Brewers, where they found themselves in desperate need of a morale boost to realign the trajectory of their season.

Contrasting Performance

The series unfolded with an initial display of dominance by the Cardinals, punctuated by a dramatic eight-run seventh inning that secured them a victory in a relief game on Monday.

However, the next game saw them squander a five-run lead, only to mount a spirited comeback in the ensuing innings, ultimately securing another victory.

Despite these successes, questions persist about the long-term prospects of the Cardinals' roster construction.

Indeed, concerns persist about the team's reliance on makeshift solutions and occasional openers to fill crucial gaps, particularly evident in its pitching rotation.

While the recent series victory provided temporary respite, doubts remain as to whether these temporary measures can withstand the rigors of a full season, especially against stronger opposition.

The use of Matthew Liberatore as an occasional starter further underscores the Cardinals' pitching depth problems.

Liberatore, typically a left-handed reliever for multiple innings, found himself in a starting role for the second time this season, giving up four earned runs in 3 1/3 innings. While his versatility is laudable, it raises questions about the team's readiness and depth in the pitching staff.

However, the Cardinals have found solace in the success of their pitching acquisitions during the offseason. Standout players such as Sonny Gray and Kyle Gibson have strengthened the rotation, ensuring competitiveness in most games in which they pitch.

The bullpen, strengthened by players such as Andrew Kittredge and Ryan Fernandez, has emerged as a reliable asset, with closer Ryan Helsley showing dominance with a 1.35 ERA and 13 saves.

Injuries Take Their Toll

Injuries have taken their toll on the Cardinals' rotation, notably sidelining Steven Matz for two weeks with a lower back injury.

Matz's absence has exposed a significant void, with the team struggling to find a consistent replacement. Zack Thompson, once in contention for a starting role, has faltered with a drop in velocity, requiring time at Triple-A Memphis to regain form.

The Cardinals face uncertainty in their rotation plans, particularly evident in the lack of a consistent sixth starter. The absence of reliable options has forced the team to continue to look to fill rotation spots, with prospects such as Sem Robberse and Adam Kloffenstein not yet ready for action in the Major League.

The team's bench has also been significantly weakened by injuries to key players such as Tommy Edman and Willson Contreras.

Edman's slow recovery from offseason wrist surgery and Contreras' exclusion until at least the All-Star Game break have forced role players like Michael Siani into more prominent roles than anticipated.

Compounding these challenges is the limited depth at Triple-A, where high-quality replacements are scarce. The absence of impact prospects further exacerbates the Cardinals' depth problems, leaving them with few options in times of need.

Prints

Manager Oli Marmol has dealt with challenges in lineup construction, given the disproportion between left-handed and right-handed hitters. The team's reliance on left-handed hitters has led Marmol to tactical maneuvers, often burning the designated hitter to manage matchups effectively.

Overall, while the Cardinals have shown resiliency in their recent series win, deeper concerns about roster construction and sustainability persist. Addressing these issues will be imperative for the Cardinals to remain competitive and navigate the challenges that await them in the remainder of the season.

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