The St. Louis Cardinals have a few days off but what they have done this season really should not be a surprise to Cardinals fans. To the rest of baseball fans, maybe.
I still remember going to see the Reds Caravan when they were in the city where I live in and a Reds fan asked Walt Jocketty which team to be afraid of. The general manager’s response was that the Cardinals were the team to beat.
Lo and behold, a season and a half removed from Albert Pujols and that is what has been happening this year. Even without star pitcher Chris Carpenter, the Cardinals have held their own. This is in due part to the stacking up of young pitchers in the minor leagues. Last year saw the major league debuts of Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal, and Shelby Miller. This season has seen Michael Blazek, Carlos Martinez, Kevin Siegrist, Michael Wacha, Keith Butler, and Tyler Lyons get called up to make their pitching debut.
Mitchell Boggs was forced into the position of closer at the start of the season following Jason Motte being shut down for the season. Motte required Tommy John Surgery while Boggs was no longer the pitcher he was during the 8th inning last season. Manager Mike Matheny tried his best with Boggs but Boggs was later sent down to Memphis and traded to the Colorado Rockies.
After David Freese‘s slow start, fans had pretty much traded him but then he began to start seeing the ball and had a hitting streak going into June before coming to an end.
Matt Carpenter went from utilityman to starting second baseman to All-Star. This is one season before Kolten Wong is expected to take over at the position, leading fans to wonder whether David Freese will be manning third base next season.
Yadier Molina has improved his offensive production. We already knew that he was the best catcher in the game from a defensive perspective but he went into the break leading the National League in batting average. For that, he is my Cardinals MVP for the first half.
Yadier Molina, Allen Craig, Carlos Beltran, Edward Mujica, Matt Carpenter, and Adam Wainwright were all selected to represent the St. Louis Cardinals at the All-Star Game. Mujica replaced Wainwright, who started on Sunday, but ended up not playing during the game.