Should Cardinals Fans Hit the Panic Button Just Yet?

Andrew Hermann@@ahermann9Correspondent IMay 31, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 30: Carlos Beltran #3 of the St. Louis Cardinals waits to hit against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on May 30, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

After a good start for the St. Louis Cardinals in April, the team has come back down to earth in May. They lost their spot in first place and finished the month of May at five games under 500.  

The Cardinals have been plagued with injuries so far this season and have not had a consistent lineup in the past couple weeks. With all the injuries that the Cardinals have sustained, it's hard to maintain a consistent day-in day-out lineup. 

Call-ups from Memphis happen just about every week now, and it seems like we have seen almost every Memphis Redbird in the lineup so far. Some have been a bright spot for the Cardinals like Matt Adams, who has had some key games for the Cards. 

The Reds look to be back as contenders for the Central title after a one-year absence where they saw their team fall under .500 and finish third in the Central. They have some great young talent and acquired some key free agents this past offseason, so they should be a postseason contender this year.

The season will be entering its third month tomorrow, and the Cardinals will be 1.5 games behind the Reds, but Cardinals fans should not press the panic button yet.

The only key players with long-term injuries that we have right now are Berkman and Carpenter. Carpenter may return soon from his injury, which is good news for the team. The only thing about Carpenter's return is that there is no room in the rotation. Lance Lynn has been the ace of the team to this point in the season, and if Carpenter is to return then he could get some time in the bullpen and could slowly move back into the rotation.

All other injuries on the team to this point have not been so deflating. Jon Jay and Allen Craig are set to return very soon. Players like Freese and Beltran have missed few games with their injuries, and even though every win is key I don't think that having them rest for a game or two will affect the outcome of the entire season. 

Just because the Cardinals lost their spot for first doesn't mean that Cardinal fans should panic. They just need to forget about May and play like a new team for the rest of the season, and they will be just fine. 

On a side note, as Albert Pujols has been heating up, the Cardinals have headed in the opposite direction. Since May 22, Albert Pujols has hit five home runs and the Angels are 8-1. They lost their first game last night since his hot streak started. Since May 22 the Cardinals are 4-5.