The St Louis Cardinals continue to get stellar pitching and clutch hitting when they need it and in doing so overcame a slow start at the plate to defeat the Cubs on Monday night 6-0.
Following yet another quality start from savvy veteran John Lackey, the St Louis Cardinals continue to show the NL central and the rest of Major League Baseball, that they are the best team going thus far in 2015.
Said John Lackey to mlb.com about last night’s win over his former Boston teammate John Lester,
"“It was fun facing my boy, for sure,”“He pitched great. I knew I was going to have to pitch well, because he was really dialed in tonight. He pitched well.”"
The pitching has been spectacular and what is even more remarkable about that is the fact that they have done so through numerous injuries to veterans such as staff ace Adam Wainwright, the resurgent Jaime Garcia who is on his second DL stint and for a brief stretch, Lance Lynn.
Through it all, Mike Matheny has kept his ball club skipping along, not missing a beat, playing as a cohesive unit and more importantly getting production from everyone.
Following four consecutive losses for the first time this season against the White Sox and Padres, the club bounced right back and have now won three straight games.
Responses like that is what makes a complete team and a team that is championship worthy if they stay on the path that they are on and have established to start the season.
Speaking of production, how about Jason Heyward who has been on fire since the beginning of May and a constant spark for an offense that struggles to score runs at times.
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Backed by arguably the majors best rotation and bullpen of 2015, newly crowned All-stars Michael Wacha who has filled in as an ace and Trevor Rosenthal who has been one of the most impressive closers in the game the past couple of seasons have led a youth movement for the St Louis Cardinals and could be a prelude to things to come.
As to why I believe the ball club is the class of the NL central, there are multiple reasons to support that theory.
Reason number one is of course pitching with the strong depth established through the farm system and free agency with last night’s starter John Lackey providing world series pedigree and good leadership along with staff mainstay Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia who has been brilliant and outright nasty to opposing pitchers and phenom Carlos Martinez who is on the all-star roster bubble and in the hunt for the final vote, after his stellar start to the season.
Second is timely hitting from the likes of Jhonny Peralta, Yadi Molina, Kolten Wong, Heyward and before his injury Matt Holliday who is expected to return this week and also participate in next week’s All-Star game.
Lastly the managing, which should not be understated because Mike Matheny in my humbled opinion is the manager of the year right now and has done a tremendous job of leading this club.
Whether it’s bringing in pitchers from the pen for different match-ups, calling up guys from the minors to fill roles and maximizing their efforts, or keeping the team staying afloat every time the injury bug has struck the team.
Let’s hope that the St Louis Cardinals can sustain their strong run to finish the first half with the potent Pittsburgh Pirates, red-hot Milwaukee Brewers and up and coming Chicago Cubs on their heels.