The St. Louis Cardinals – Leader of the Pack
What do you say to a team that wins … wins … and wins some more? There is only one thing that can be said: Congratulations!
Missouri’s favorite baseball team (they’re also popular in a few nearby states) has won more games than any other big league squad over the first half of the season. Their record at the break is a commendable 56-33.
The Cardinals have won despite a season-ending injury to their top pitcher, Adam Wainwright, early in April. They’ve overcome injuries to key players, as well, such as Matt Holliday, John Jay and others.
The truth is that despite the early loss of their ace, this team features one of the top pitching staffs in the National League. Their starting pitchers are young and capable. The key starters include Michael Wacha, a second year player with great stuff and excellent command, crafty veteran John Lackey and skilled youngsters like Carlos Martinez and Lance Lynn. Trevor Rosenthal is just one of many specialists manning a packed bullpen.
Key position players for this high-achieving team include third baseman Matt Carpenter, catcher Yadier Molina and outfielder Matt Holliday. Currently on the Disabled List, Holliday is expected to return to the team sometime in the next two weeks.
Graphic via pinterest
Manager Mike Matheny (a former player) has done an exceptional job keeping the Cardinals focused and competitive from opening day right up to the current break. And General Manager John Muzeliak, true to the team’s tradition, has supplied the big league roster with back-up players ready to step up and perform when promoted.
Clearly, this organization is first-rate and able to evaluate talent and use it effectively. It’s a valuable trait that should serve the team well in the upcoming second half. The Pittsburgh Pirates are sitting in second place and are just two and one half games behind the front-runners. The Pirates are a young and improving team that cashed in an impressive fifty-three wins in the first half.
While the Cardinals have no apparent weaknesses, General Manager John Muzeliak has said he will try to add a front-line pitcher and a left-handed batter to come off the bench for the second half push for the playoffs.
He figures to need all the additional help he can get. The Pirates are a serious opponent and will meet the Cardinals twice over the last few months of the season.
The games in St. Louis on 8/11-8/14 will certainly be important. The series in Pittsburgh will be played between 9/28 and 9/30. These games will be critically important and may very well decide which team advances to the playoffs.
Fans of both teams can expect to be treated to nail-biting tension and excitement when these two teams meet to decide divisional supremacy.
Graphic via www.ibtimes.com