ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals returned home on Friday hoping to find their offense, which has been mostly absent in key situations for the past week.
The club concluded its 11-game road trip with just two wins in the final seven games. Combined, the Cardinals scored 13 runs over that span. It's been even longer -- 291 at-bats in total -- since anyone in the lineup went deep, and starter Adam Wainwright had more hits on the road swing than did Peter Bourjos, Mark Ellis, Kolten Wong or Daniel Descalso.
"Sloppy," was how manager Mike Matheny described the last week on Friday. General manager John Mozeliak, who was not on the road trip, also weighed in on the hitting woes Friday.
"You look at this team, they've all historically hit, and I believe they will," Mozeliak said. "I just don't think this offense has gotten on track. You're not going to hit with runners in scoring position like we did last year, but we're still capable of stringing multiple hits together and scoring runs. I also think when the weather warms up a little bit, you'll see more power."
While the Cardinals have been laboring to score runs, the organization's Triple-A offense has been mostly rolling. The unit is hitting .273/.348/.443 through Thursday and has been paced, in particular, by a quartet of outfielders -- Joey Butler, Stephen Piscotty, Randal Grichuk and Oscar Taveras.
So might the Cardinals dip down into that Triple-A depth for a jolt? Don't count on it.
The Cardinals continue to prioritize regular playing time for prospects Piscotty, Grichuk and Taveras. With no obvious opening in the St. Louis outfield at the moment, the organization is hesitant to bring up any of the three to sit on the bench.
Butler, 28, is a different case, as he has already reached the Majors and is past the development stage. He enters Friday leading the league in hitting (.431), ranked second in on-base percentage (.547) and ninth in slugging percentage (.667). The Cardinals could use added production from the bench -- 4-for-24 with one RBI this season -- but Mozeliak indicated that no roster changes are on the horizon.
"When you bring somebody to jumpstart your offense and you're talking three or four at-bats a week, I just don't know if that's your answer," Mozeliak said. "I think the way to look at it right now is there is a lot of talent on this team, and we believe in it."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.