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Matheny: 'Best offense is ahead of us'

Manager has slumping Cards skip regular BP on field, sends them to batting cage

Matheny: 'Best offense is ahead of us'

MIAMI -- This six-game road trip hasn't been the kindest to the Cardinals' win column. Entering play on Wednesday, St. Louis had won once since landing in Baltimore last weekend.

Even though the Cards hit .263 (46-for-175) in the first five games of their trip, they were unable to execute on their opportunities, which allowed opponents to outscore them 34-18.

They had to do something different to snap out of that rut, so before Wednesday night's series finale against the Marlins, the Cardinals elected to skip regular batting practice for some time in the cages. Manager Mike Matheny said he tries to get his team in there at least once per series, but Wednesday seemed like the best opportunity due to the travel schedule back to St. Louis.

"It's just a matter of trying to maximize the work that we're doing here and not coming out and doing things just because that's the way we normally do," Matheny said.

A few players have been working in the cage all series, and Matheny has seen some improvements. He was so confident in the progress his entire team has made that he predicted St. Louis' "best offense is ahead of us."

That said, the way the Cardinals have been hitting of late -- their .249 second-half average ranked 18th in the Majors entering Wednesday -- has inspired plenty of adjustments. Not enough to mess with routines but enough to try to get the team closer to its .269 clip in 2013, which was fourth best in the league.

"We have a few guys who have been solely doing their stuff in the cage and have been swinging the bat well, so I think there's something to be noted there," Matheny said. "Sometimes taking a little different approach can make a difference."

Maria Torres is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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