Last week, the Cardinals swept the Astros and then took two of three from the Reds in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, their week will only get harder as now they have to face the Pirates and Nationals, both on the road. If you were to go back in time about five years, a road trip that consisted of the Pirates, Nationals, and Reds would have been a dream come true for any team competing for a playoff spot.
How OPTIMISTIC are you?
According to the numbers, the Cardinals have one of the best offensive numbers in the Majors. When clicking, every starting position player has the potential to hit at least .280 with decent to above average power. They have seemed to find their spark with Jon Jay batting leadoff. That’s not to say that Rafael Furcal was a bad leadoff hitter, but he was struggling. Since Jay has been batting leadoff, Furcal has been moved to the eighth spot in the order and has seemed to have grown comfortable in the position. It could be the amount of pressure that has been taken off his shoulders.
How optimistic ARE you?
The pitching staff has been phenomenal all season. They have four pitchers with 13 wins, although one of them has been moved to the bullpen. Lance Lynn has been pretty good all year, but he shown fatigue lately because he is at an innings amount he has never seen before. Adam Wainwright has gotten better and better with each start this season. Kyle Lohse has been Mr. Consistency. Jake Westbrook has been very good for most of the season, and Jaime Garcia, when healthy, has been a solid pitcher. Joe Kelly has been better than advertised, in my opinion, because he has only given up more than three earned runs in a start once. Lately, he’s been piling up the strikeouts as well. He also doesn’t walk a lot of guys. With the rotation being as good as it’s been and the 7th, 8th, and 9th inning pitchers being shutdown guys (Edward Mujica, Mitchell Boggs, and Jason Motte), I would say the Cardinals have a very good chance of making the playoffs. The entire team seems to be meshing at the right time and as long as they keep it up, the sky is the limit.
With that being said, the question remains…
How optimistic are YOU?