St. Louis Cardinals: NL-Central team of the week, July 2 -July 8

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PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 04: Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a three run home run in the seventh inning of the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on July 4, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 04: Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a three run home run in the seventh inning of the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on July 4, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals had a decent enough week last week but was it enough to be listed as team of the week?

Each week, there are always a select group of players who stand out from the others, whether they are on a hot streak, or they are ice cold. Were any of the St. Louis Cardinals included this week?

For the players who are on the hot streak side of things, they might make the cut for Redbird Rants NL-Central team of the Week squad, where the best NL-Central player in each position that week gets this prestigious made-up award. Now, let’s dive into this week’s standouts.

Starting Pitcher: Junior Guerra, Milwaukee Brewers

This one was tough, as it came between Junior Guerra and our honorable mention, but I had to go with Guerra on this one. Guerra was very solid over 2 starts, where he compiled a 0.82 ERA with 12 strikeouts over 2 dominant outings. He even managed to bring his ERA down from a 3.05 to a 2.79, which now ranks seventh in the NL.

In his start against the Twins on July 3rd, he was downright dominant. As he allowed only two hits in five innings while striking out eight and not allowing a single run. In his other start, he was still dominant, allowing one earned run while sitting down four over six innings.

MILWAUKEE, WI – JULY 08: Junior Guerra #41 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park on July 8, 2018, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI – JULY 08: Junior Guerra #41 of the Milwaukee Brewers pitches in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park on July 8, 2018, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Honorable Mention: Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals

Relief Pitcher: Corey Knebel, Milwaukee Brewers

This decision was a no-brainer. As Corey Knebel was downright dominant in all of his appearances this week– three of them were save opportunities which comes with more pressure than your average relief appearance.

Knebel notched up three saves in a six-game span, in which he allowed only one earned run and three hits. He struck out six batters as well. He even managed to pick up a win against the Minnesota Twins on July 2nd. As the Brewers bullpen was dominant as a whole, Knebel stood out especially.

CINCINNATI, OH – JUNE 28: Corey Knebel #46 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on June 28, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH – JUNE 28: Corey Knebel #46 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on June 28, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Honorable Mention: Luke Farrell, Chicago Cubs

Catcher: Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals

Between Molina and a certain rival, this one was tough to decide. Yadier Molina had a huge week as he was trying to earn some last impressions before voting ballots for the 2018 MLB All-Star Game closed.

He hit for .381 while bringing in six runs and hitting two home runs including a huge 3-run shot that would put the St. Louis Cardinals ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks in an Independence Day showdown. This made-up award might just be better than getting his 9th All Star nod as an injury replacement for San Francisco Giants star Buster Posey.

PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 03: Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals at bat during the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on July 3, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 03: Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals at bat during the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on July 3, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Honorable Mention: Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs

First Baseman: Eric Thames, Milwaukee Brewers

This one was obvious, Eric Thames had a monster week, as he hit for .368 with two long balls and driving in three runs. Thames had base hits in five of the six games he played in and also turned in two multi-hit performances. He even managed to pull his AVG up from a .230 to a .248 in one week. He got on base in every game as well.

Thames will look to keep his fire going and keep contributing to an on-fire Brewers ball club.

MILWAUKEE, WI – JULY 08: Eric Thames #7 of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a home run in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park on July 8, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI – JULY 08: Eric Thames #7 of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a home run in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park on July 8, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Honorable Mention: Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds

2nd Baseman: Javy Baez, Chicago Cubs

The race for the starting second baseman job for the 2018 All-Star Game was heated between Javy Baez, Scooter Gennett, and Ozzie Albies. A big week from Baez helped him pull away at the last minute.

Baez went 8-22 while blasting a home run and bringing in four runs throughout the week. Baez also swiped three bases and stole home on a beautiful slide against the Detroit Tigers. He played a huge part in keeping the Cubs hot this week as the team went 5-1 for the week.

Baez will look to keep his fire going into a big series against the San Francisco Giants.

CHICAGO, IL – JULY 04: Javier Baez #9 of the Chicago Cubs steals home plate as James McCann #34 of the Detroit Tigers makes a late tag during the fourth inning on July 4, 2018 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL – JULY 04: Javier Baez #9 of the Chicago Cubs steals home plate as James McCann #34 of the Detroit Tigers makes a late tag during the fourth inning on July 4, 2018 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

Honorable Mention: Kolten Wong, St. Louis Cardinals

Shortstop: Yairo Munoz, St. Louis Cardinals

As slugger Paul DeJong would make his return from the DL on Friday, Munoz knew he needed to have a big week to avoid getting sent down to AAA Memphis. Well, Munoz delivered as he hit for .368 with two home runs and six RBIs.

Even though Yairo Munoz leads the team in errors, he played very exceptional defense to go with his hot bat. The better part is, he didn’t get optioned to AAA when Paul DeJong returned, as it was LHP Austin Gomber who took a trip down I-55 to Memphis.

PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 02: Infielder Yairo Munoz #34 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws over the sliding Paul Goldschmidt #44 of the Arizona Diamondbacks to complete a double play during the third inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 2, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 02: Infielder Yairo Munoz #34 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws over the sliding Paul Goldschmidt #44 of the Arizona Diamondbacks to complete a double play during the third inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 2, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Honorable Mention: Jose Peraza, Cincinnati Reds

Third Baseman: Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds

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Eugenio Suarez ran away with this award after slashing .429 with three HRs and seven RBIs this week. After an awful start by the Reds to begin the season, they have been a completely different team after firing manager Bryan Price.

Suarez has easily been the best player on the Reds so far this season, as he leads the team in HRs, RBIs, and OPS. He also has a 12-game hitting streak, which is among one of the highest active hitting streaks in baseball right now. He’s fifth in the National League in home runs and second in the National League in OPS, and might even be a dark horse candidate to win NL MVP this year. Also, he received his first career All-Star Game selection, as a reserve third baseman.

CINCINNATI, OH – JULY 04: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds throws the ball to first base against the Chicago White Sox at Great American Ball Park on July 4, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH – JULY 04: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds throws the ball to first base against the Chicago White Sox at Great American Ball Park on July 4, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Honorable Mention: Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals

Left Fielder: Corey Dickerson, Pittsburgh Pirates

This one was easy, Corey Dickerson had yet another big week as he hit .500 with a double, a triple, and swiping a bag throughout the week. Dickerson is not known for crushing baseballs, with only six home runs to his name in 2018. He is still one of the best contact hitters in baseball, he has a .308 BA on the season, which leads the ball club and is also 8th in the National League.

PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 06: Corey Dickerson #12 of the Pittsburgh Pirates singled to right in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park on July 6, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 06: Corey Dickerson #12 of the Pittsburgh Pirates singled to right in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park on July 6, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Honorable Mention: Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs

Center Fielder: Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates

Starling Marte went off this week, and he was doing everything. He hit for .500 with a home run and collected four RBIs throughout the week. He showed off his speed with two doubles and five stolen bases. Marte even looked like a gold glover in the outfield all week, as he was making wild catches and throwing out runners left and right.

Things are rough for the Pirates right now, especially in the past week as they were outscored 19-52, and also allowed 17 runs twice. Marte has been a shed of light in dark times for the Pirates organization.

PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 07: Starling Marte #6 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts after hitting a home run in the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park on July 7, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 07: Starling Marte #6 of the Pittsburgh Pirates reacts after hitting a home run in the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park on July 7, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Honorable Mention: Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds

Right Fielder: Jesus Aguilar, Milwaukee Brewers

Jesus Aguilar has been a star so far this season for the red-hot Milwaukee Brewers. He spent the week destroying baseballs, as he went yard three times and drove in eight runs in the process. Aguilar ran away with this week’s spot in right field. He had a huge two-home-run game against the Atlanta Braves on July 8th.

He currently leads the Brewers in BA, HRs, RBIs, and OPS. Now, he finds himself on the Final Vote ballot for the 2018 MLB All-Star game. You can vote for Aguilar (or Matt Carpenter) here.

MILWAUKEE, WI – JULY 08: Lorenzo Cain #6, Jesus Aguilar #24, and Jonathan Villar #5 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrate after Aguilar hit a home run in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park on July 8, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI – JULY 08: Lorenzo Cain #6, Jesus Aguilar #24, and Jonathan Villar #5 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrate after Aguilar hit a home run in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Miller Park on July 8, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Honorable Mention: Harrison Bader, St. Louis Cardinals

Next: All-Star voting conundrum

Check in with us each week to see which of our St. Louis Cardinals find their way onto the best-of list. Thanks for reading!

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