Who saw this coming? I didn’t. Nobody did.
Going into Monday’s three game series in Chicago, the St. Louis Cardinals were sitting in on top of the National League Central in first place by four games. Their 11-5 record was second to a two-way tie behind the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Things didn’t quite go the Cardinals way while in Chicago–that could partly be blamed on the umpires though. Following the Cubs series, the Cardinals are still sitting in first in the division with a 12-7 record.
I’m less surprised about the Nats holding court in the NL East than I am the Cardinals holding the fort down in the Central. With the Nats, we all saw it coming just like a few years back with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Would it be fair to say that ESPN, by going against the Cardinals this season, is fueling the fire for the offensive and pitching production? Yes, I would seem to think so. It was certainly what they did with the Kentucky Wildcats with the constant ads featuring Christian Watford and his buzzer beating shot from the Kentucky loss in Bloomington to the Indiana Hoosiers.
However it may seem to anyone, the Cardinals sitting in first place when Matt Holliday is just barely batting above .200! I would wager to say this would be impossible at the moment. But it’s not. It’s happening. It’s happening because of RBI machines such as David Freese (18), Yadier Molina (12), and breakout star Matt Carpenter (12), a product of Texas Christian.
Turning our attention to pitching, Adam Wainwright is not helping the Cardinals’ lead in the Central. Is it because of his confidence being lower than usual after sitting out a year? I don’t know. Wainwright entered the series against the Cubs with 0-3 record and a horrific 9.88 ERA. It’s un-Waino like of him. For the sake of the Cardinals, and the fans alike, I hope that changes as we progress through the rest of the season. If Tuesday night’s game is a precursor to the rest of the season, Wainwright should be fine as he lowered his ERA to 7.32 after only giving up 1 run and 6 hits. Throw in 7 strikeouts and he’s back to normal.
In taking up for the injured Chris Carpenter, Lance Lynn has been superb with a 4-0 record and 1.33 ERA. He leads the club with 24 strikeouts, three more than Wainright’s 21. When Carpenter does come back, it will be worth keeping an eye on what the Cardinals decide to do with Lynn. At the moment, Lance Lynn could be a sleeper pick for the National League Rookie of the Year, given the official rookie qualifications for Major League Baseball. You almost have to think that skipper Mike Matheny and Pitching Coach Derek Lilliquist would consider going to a six-man rotation if that is going to be the case. At this point, not starting Lynn would be an outrage with his numbers!
Westbrook is 2-1 with a 1.31 ERA. It’s not really his fault that he picked up the loss against the Pittsburgh Pirates last Saturday. A.J. Burnett just happened to have a superb day, limiting the Cardinals to only 5 hits.
But to ESPN, I say thank you if they are fueling the Cardinals’ momentum this season.