Despite the fact they play in one of baseball’s tougher divisions, The St. Louis Cardinals should have no trouble taking the National League Central crown with ease.
The Cardinals currently have the best record in baseball at 40-21. The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds are only four games behind them, but the Cards’ have too many solid pieces to struggle for a long period of time. The Cardinals extended their lead over the Reds Friday with a 9-2 drubbing.
The Cardinals have seven different hitters batting .300 or higher over the past month. The have nine hitters with at least 12 RBI in that span. All of this is being done with a sub-par Matt Holiday lately and a less than stellar Jon Jay — two players who most likely won’t struggle for any extended period of time. Jay is hitting .244, which in all honesty isn’t too bad when you consider the fact he has the lowest batting average of all the ever-day Cardinals.
They’ve done most of their damage without the help of the long-ball. They’ve hit only 52 home runs this season, good for 25th in MLB, yet they rank fourth in total runs scored. You might think it has something to do with Busch Stadium, but it’s actually somewhat on the smaller size. They look to put the ball in play and manufacture runs, which is why they have been successful. You won’t see them swinging for the fences with runners on base. They simply try to put the ball in play and extend innings.
When hitters like Matt Adams and Holliday are on track, they are the toughest top-to-bottom line up in baseball. Adams and Matt Carpenter are tied for the team lead with a .904 OPS. Which really isn’t that high compared to the 1.147 of Chris Davis or the 1.100 of Miguel Cabrera.
Someone different is bound to step up for the Cardinals from one day to the next, which makes it almost impossible for them to go cold. As good as the Pirates and Reds have been, they’ll have a difficult time keeping pace with St. Louis.