St. Louis Cardinals stay white-hot against Chicago Cubs


Following an impressive win last night, the St. Louis Cardinals are Major League Baseball’s first 50-win team.

After dispatching the Chicago Cubs 8-1 on Saturday night in front of a crowd of a reported 46,407 paying fans, Mike Matheny‘s club is in elite company.

The game started off a little shaky for the Cardinals, they did what they always do, staying poised. The bats kept swinging and the pitching of Michael Wacha and Carlos Villanueva was more than enough.

Speaking of Wacha, he went six innings, striking out five, walking two and giving up one earned en route to his team-leading 10th win of the season.

During the game, double plays and horrible baserunning led to the Cubs’ demise against baseball’s best team.

Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals continued to play as a cohesive unit, as they have all season-long, rallying behind another elite outing by Wacha.

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In the win, he lowered his earned run average to a very solid 2.75, becoming the National League’s second 10-game winner, trailing only the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Gerritt Cole.

Cole, Wacha and a very dominant Max Scherzer all have a shot at starting next month’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati, but that question won’t sort itself out until the coming weeks.

While that remains to be seen, Wacha did a wonderful job against the Cubs of getting in and out of jams, albeit more times than he or the team would have preferred to be in.

That speaks to his growth, maturity and understanding of when to throw a pitch, where to locate and most importantly limiting damage.

He told after the game,

"“The defense all night was just incredible. I got myself into some tough spots there early in the game. My defense bailed me out in those innings.”"

The Chicago Cubs have began to establish an array of talent that will eventually compete for the NL Central in the years to come, but the St. Louis Cardinals showed on Saturday that they’re still clearly the top dogs in the division.

The group St. Louis GM Jon Mozeliak has assembled is a bunch of guys who put the team first, play tough and buy into just doing their respective jobs on a day-in, day-out basis.

They have found a way to not let injuries to key players such as Adam Wainwright, Matt Adams, Matt Holliday and others throughout the course of the season, take away their focus or goals.

Jhonny Peralta, for all intents and purposes, could be the best offensive shortstop in all of baseball, let alone the National League and has yet again been a major force at the plate for the Redbirds.

Jason Heyward has seemed to have locked in on not only defense, but at the plate as of late and few players have been as hot as he has.

The bench has definitely stepped up as well with Xavier Scruggs and Greg Garcia paying immediate dividends since their call-ups this past week.

Perhaps the unheralded MVP outside of the great Yadi Molina, who has led the pitching staff to being one of the absolute best at the half way point, is Jaime Garcia.

The left-hander has been filthy and practically almost un-touchable since he returned to the team in May, and even though his record may only indicate 3-3, his team has been inconsistent in scoring during his starts.

Despite this, he has held up nicely which the team and fans hope remains the case for the remainder of the season and postseason.

On Saturday, the Cardinals reminded the Cubs that they aren’t quite ready to challenge for an NL Central crown.

The bullpen and starting staff deserve a lot of credit as well because they have kept their team in games especially late when the offense has struggled.

The bottom line is this team is flat-out getting it done. Yes, I will admit it is only June, which leads many to question whether or not the Cardinals can keep up this torrid pace.

My answer for those individuals is yes they can, because at the end of the day it is about getting at least one more run than the other team, having good enough pitching, defense and a bullpen.

Last time I checked, the St. Louis Cardinals have all of those things and then some.

Sure, the team will have their lows over the remaining 88 games and the always-intriguing Pirates will make things interesting, but with the Cards flying high at 28-7 at home, don’t expect a let-down anytime soon.

Next: Cards' Jaime Garcia is emerging as one of the elite