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Pujols, Wainwright lead five Cardinals on NL All-Star Team


The St. Louis Cardinals have been frustrating in an up-and-down first half of the 2010 season and at times embarrassing according to one St. Louis baseball expert.

The All-Star Game selections were a surprising highlight for this struggling Cardinals team. St. Louis tied the Atlanta Braves with five selections for the most in the National League. Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina were voted in by the fans as starters. Pujols led the league in voting for the second straight year despite a ho-hum first half. It will be his ninth consecutive All-Star appearance. Molina, hitting .231, benefited from fan voting and his reputation. Honestly, he doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near Los Angeles for this game. This will be his second All-Star Game.

Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter will represent the Redbirds on the mound. The Cy Young candidates from a year ago have been outstanding again this year. Wainwright is in the mix with 12 wins and a 2.24 ERA. He was dominant yesterday in a battle with All-Star pitcher Yovani Gallardo of the Milwaukee Brewers. Waino fired a complete game for a 7-1 win, showcasing why he’s an All-Star and Cy Young candidate. It will be his first All-Star Game. His partner at the top of the rotation will be making his third stop at the Midsummer Classic. Carpenter’s latest start was his worst, but also an anomaly. He is 9-2 with a 3.16 ERA. Wainwright was picked through the players’ ballot and Carpenter was chosen by Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.

Matt Holliday rounds out the group. A surprising pick, Holliday was also chosen by the players. It will be his fourth appearance. He is hitting .298 with 11 home runs, but has only driven in 39 runs. Holliday has been good but he hasn’t come through in big situations for the Cards so far in 2010.

It seems that’s been the story with this team. Something just doesn’t feel right. Everything isn’t clicking as predicted before the season. Embarrassing as Bernie Miklasz put it in his grim column? No. That’s called overreacting. That’s called not understanding. The Cardinals haven’t lived up to expectation this year, but to call the team an embarrassment after one brutal game is embarrassing. Baseball is the one sport that requires a short memory and fighting attitude. Getting caught up in one game — win or loss — is the biggest mistake you can make.

The All-Star selections are a funny reminder that no one in the National League is that good. Do the Cards deserve five players? No, but they deserve three or four. The Braves have been great. But the Mets and Phillies are flawed. The Phillies, two-time defending National League champions, look awful. The NL Central is weak. The Cubs, Brewers, and Pirates are already dreaming about 2012. The NL West is a mystery of mediocrity with the San Diego Padres on top. The Padres are a riddle. They don’t have any talent and yet, they’re the best in the NL.

Baseball is unpredictable and humbling.

The Cardinals aren’t an embarrassment.

Maybe they just aren’t that good.