By COREY NOLES
St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny acknowledges his team's offensive struggles, but he wants it kept in perspective.
With Peter Bourjos, Allen Craig, Daniel Descalso, Mark Ellis, Jhonny Peralta and Shane Robinson all batting under .200 on April 27, the concerns are legitimate.
At this point, Matheny said they are trying to find the right combination to make something click.
"We've been talking about how to get those guys sharp and when we see an opportunity we're going to take advantage of it," he said, prior to Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. "I feel like we've been pretty creative and proactive in trying a lot of different things."
Each of the Cardinals three offseason offensive acquisitions is struggling--Bourjos, Ellis and Peralta.
Matheny said he and the staff are taking an individualized approach to each hitter as they attempt to work the kinks out of this offense. He believes the smartest route is for him to serve as an "honest evaluator."
"You earn credibility through honest evaluation," he said. "It's kind of going back and forth and working things out on an individual basis. We're not trying to "can" any certain thing with anybody."
Overall, Matheny feels like April has been a decent month for his team that could have been better.
"Are we anywhere close to where we should be? The honest answer on a consistent basis is no," Matheny said. "But, we are finding a way to win--just not as many as we'd like."
What he doesn't want now is for his team to fall into the trap of believing that they are playing worse than they actually are.
That kind of talk can drag a team down--even a pitching staff that is largely off to a very solid start to the season.
"We do have some guys who are going about it the right way and we don't want to drag everybody down," Matheny said. "We don't want to drag our pitching down when they're doing a terrific job of keeping us in games."
Right now there are some guys who are looking to do things differently and others who are just trying to keep things going.
Matheny acknowledged that the time of year makes a difference as well. While all players go through funks during the course of a season, it looks worse in April because the board says the average has dropped into the .100s instead of the .200s.
Perspective, he believes, is the key.
"This happens all of the time," he said. "Stay the course and make minor adjustments."
Matheny joked about having made a career out of having a rough start and finally coming around.
Weather and travel have made April a tough month for the Cardinals--tough enough that Matheny should be glad to see his team record in as good of shape as it is.
For the time being, his goal is to help his team shake the cloud that is hanging over their head. Pitching has given them a strong foundation, but the offense needs to wake up as well.
Matheny is confident that if they keep their focus and keep plugging along, the hits will come.
They always do.
Corey Noles is a Cardinals Writer and Columnist for The Daily Statesman. He is also a regular contributor to KSDK and Bleacher Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @coreynoles.