Despite a myriad of injuries to key players the first half of the 2011 season for the St. Louis Cardinals, they find themselves tied for 1st place with the Milwaukee Brewers at the All Star break. That is very commendable. Their offense, and strong starting pitching are the contributing factors in their first half success.
The Birds are first in batting average and third in
runs scored in the NL. That is going to win you some ballgames. However, the teams ERA is only 10th in the league and this is mostly the result of some very inconsistent relief pitching.
The starting pitching for the Cardinals has been
better than one would have imagined siting the
season ending injury to ace Adam Wainwright.
Although Chris Carpenter has just a 4-7 won/loss record, he has been most impressive in the majority of his starts as he was the victim of some early offense lulls and poor defensive play in the field for some of his games.
The much needed help in the bullpen has not come and a front line closer is still needed for the Cardinals to stay in the hunt for the NL Central Division title, however. The Cards had had some interest in San Diego Padres’ All Star closer Heath Bell, but, those talks have seemed to fizzle. That is too bad. Bell would have been a very welcome addition.
The race for the NL Central is a 4 team race this year with the Pittsburgh Pirates really stepping up their game and are just one game back of the Cardinals and the Brewers going into the second half of the season. Good for them and good for MLB. It is great to see these so called “small market” teams doing well.
The Cardinals will see the Pirates in Pittsburgh after a weekend series starting this Friday with Cincinnati and then traveling to hew York to take on the Mets.
The Cardinals have weathered some injury storms and have come out in good shape so far this season. They are still going to need some one to step in the bullpen or trade for a strong closer to stay in the hunt for the NL Central.
We see how this all starts this Friday as the Cardinals will be back from their All Star break against the Reds with Kyle Lohse taking the ball for the Birds.