What happened to Cards' offense?

The 2013 NL champs really need to add a big bat before the trade deadline

Updated: July 11, 2014, 7:13 PM ET
By Mike Petriello | ESPN Insider

Allen CraigGreg Fiume/Getty ImagesAllen Craig was an All-Star a year ago, but he has been one of the worst regulars in baseball in 2014.
The St. Louis Cardinals stormed their way to the NL Central title (and then the World Series) last season, and the popular thinking was that it was largely on the strength of their talented young pitching, with Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha and Trevor Rosenthal joining the consistently excellent veteran leader Adam Wainwright. To a certain extent, that was true, because only four teams allowed fewer runs than the Cardinals did, and despite injuries to Wacha, Joe Kelly and Jaime Garcia, the pitching has again been good in 2014. In fact, no starting rotation in baseball has allowed fewer runs.

Yet something isn't quite the same. After winning the most games in the National League last year, the Cardinals have been stuck in second place in the NL Central behind the Milwaukee Brewers all season and sit on the precipice of the second wild-card spot. It's not that being eight games over .500 is a problem, of course, but this year's Cardinals team is not in the driver's seat as it was last year.

And why aren't they?