Hope everyone is having a good weekend. The St. Louis Cardinals play the 2nd game of the series against the Chicago Cubs this evening. If Westbrook continues his good pitching and the offense continues their scoring from the previous game, we can clinch winning the series. It will be the Redbirds’ 94th game as they continue their march to the division championship and the post season.
Many of you in Cardinal Nation have been agonizing over the Cardinal’s performance over the past several weeks. And with the team currently in 3rd place, its understandable. Allow me to give you some encouraging numbers and information that will hopefully peak your optimism.
After 93 games here are some offensive numbers: .273 team batting average; .341 On Base%; 445 runs scored; 882 hits. These numbers are all leading the National League. Here are some more: .443 slugging %; .769 OPS; good for #2 in the National League. Last year they struggled a bit against left handed pitching. This year, they are hitting .273 with a .443 slugging % and .782 OPS. Against right handed pitching, they are hitting .273, with a .423 slugging % and .765 OPS.
Collectively, the Cardinal infielders; despite the injuries and average play overall at 2nd base are hitting .279. And the Cardinal outfield is hitting .294.
Pitching wise, the Cardinals have a team ERA of 3.83. Their starters have an ERA of .3.59 and bullpen 4.37. The bullpen is still a problem despite an improved ERA recently as their W-L record is 9-15. When Brian Fuentes joins the bullpen, there will hopefully be some significant improvement. And when Jaime Garcia returns from his “injury”, if the Cardinals move Joe Kelly to the bullpen, which will also be a plus.
On an individual note, there are several Cardinals whose performance will be important. Of the position players, if Schumaker stays healthy and Furcal avoids any prolonged slumps that will be a major plus. Lance Berkman’s bat won’t be silent much longer and Freese is starting to be more consistent. And don’t forget Allan Craig is always a bat you can count on and he will continue to get significant playing time. I am worried a bit about Jon Jay’s offense. I’m not sure if his shoulder is still an issue but, he is one player we need to have perform in center field. His defense and speed are still their but, his offense isn’t right now. If that doesn’t come around soon, that will mean Carlos Beltran will be playing more center field; which isn’t good for his knees. Matt Holliday is playing like “Matt Holliday” and that’s a good thing. And if you haven’t noticed, Yadier Molina is turning into an RBI machine and well as a bona fide big league hitter.
Our starting rotation is looking like they did in April with Jake Westbrook and Kyle Lohse eating innings and giving the bullpen a break. Adam Wainwright is looking like himself and if Garcia has a setback, Joe Kelly has proven to be a big league pitcher. And it would be nice if another relief pitcher, besides Jason Motte, could get a save.
On the Cardinals’ upcoming schedule they will play against six teams that currently have losing records. The rest are against the likes of San Francisco, LA Dodgers, Washington Nationals and the Reds, Pirates and Brewers. So, our Redbirds definitely have the wherewithal to control their own destiny and make a major push for the NL Central crown. And of course defend their 2011 World Series crown. Are you feeling optimistic now?
Thanks for reading. Go Cards!