The St. Louis Cardinals were thought to be an excellent team coming into the season. Full of depth, injected with new doses of speed and with a firm and dependable management structure, most agreed the club was well positioned to return to the World Series. At 11-7, the club is on a fine winning pace, one that can easily project to 95-100 wins and beyond. Though currently the Milwaukee Brewers are two games in front, it is not expected they will hold that spot for long.
However, despite some lineup improvements, what really stands out for the Cardinals is the pitching, and in particular, the starting pitching. Like some lineups have no easy outs, the Cardinals’ staff has five guys for whom there are no easy hits. Now that Joe Kelly is temporarily on the shelf, that number may be four, but consider that Carlos Martinez could potentially enter the rotation and then eyebrows truly do raise.
Looking at the team objectively, the rotation figures to only get stronger, and the bullpen is nearing the return of Jason Motte, yet another flamethrower to intimidate batters. At a certain point, it becomes almost comical the Cardinals have so much depth in their pitching that they are converting starters to relievers not only at the major-league level, but the minor-league level as well. This is an indication that the team is in the position of simply being able to groom arms to do whatever is needed. Closer Trevor Rosenthal actually wants to be a starter, but there is no room for him. Martinez will almost certainly start one day, but not yet.
And even the much-maligned Lance Lynn is 4-0 and pitching like he is interested in wanting to make another All-Star appearance. The Brewers can hit, but that team has nowhere near the pitching of the Cardinals, and come August, they not will not be anywhere near the Cardinals, period.