July 2, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitterAlbert Pujols
(5) meets with St. Louis Cardinals first basemanAllen Craig
(21) before the game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
During June, the St. Louis Cardinals proved that they could lose to both contenders and bottom feeders. The next four series in July could define the Redbirds season in three ways.
St. Louis played .500 baseball in June. 14-14 shows that in fact, just like the Blues in 1999, the 2013 Cardinals had been overachieving. In April and May the starters were going deep, the defense was concrete, and the bats were loud. Those strengths became inconsistent in June, and I saw it all in Oakland this weekend.
Game 3: Jake Westbrook‘s balls didn’t sink and the Cards defense looked horrible while losing the rubber game.
With series versus the Angels, Marlins, Astros and Cubs(all under .500) before the All-Star break, St. Louis should be able to reclaim the NL Central lead with less summer-like play and more spring-like play. However, they could also show that they are what we hoped and believed they were not, overrated and overhyped. First place Pittsburg and third place Cincinnati loved the Sports Illustrated cover with the Birdinals pitchers in button-downs. If you’re looking to see the Red Birds on the cheap, the six games at home before the all-star break are the cheapest games for cardinal tickets the rest of the year, with an average of $38 versus $52 for the rest of the season. Tickets can be had against the Astros for as little as $6.
What might prove to be more revealing than overachieving or a cakewalk are trade options. There is too much talent in the Cardinals organization not to shop for an experienced starter that can do work.
Hopefully, John Mozeliak has already sent Cliff Lee some toasted ravioli and a case of St. Louis champagne.