Starting Pitching: A
An "A" might be a little low actually, but I have to penalize Kyle Lohse a little. Lohse has actually looked better his last couple of starts which is scary, because the other fours guys have been sick. Wainwright looks like he wants to make sure there is no doubt about the Cy Young this year. Penny has replaced Pineiro and then some. Carp wasn't real sharp his first couple of starts, but has been dominate since. The real revelation has been Garcia though. Has already probably given us more quality starts out the five hole than we had all of last year while adding a lefty to the equation. Can he keep it up once the league scouts him a little better? Tough to say for sure, but I love the kid's stuff and composure out there..
This was the area we were all concerned about, as it seemed a lot of the guys pitched over their heads last year. So far.....they've continued to. Franklin in particular has continued to nail down saves. Maybe its time to stop doubting him? I've also been impressed with Motte. If anything, he looks better than last year. Actually, I really like our middle relief with Reyes and Miller from the left and Hawkesworth, Motte, and McClellen for the right. Overall, the Cardinals lead the National League with a 2.67 team ERA. Wow.
The batting average is pretty low, but the team is hitting for a lot of power, and taking walks a little more frequently than last year, so right now, we are scoring just enough runs. The middle infield has been the big problem offensively. Shu is at .216 and Ryan .182. Felipe Lopez was hitting well when he played, but he's on the DL right now. The outfield has been good with Colby Rasmus looking like the stud we'd hoped he would be. Holliday and Ludwick have been solid if not spectacular. Freese has been better than I'd expected at 3B, giving us a big boost over what we got over there last season. Molina and Pujols have been themselves. Again, we've scored enough runs so far, but can do a lot better if we get anything at all out of the middle infield guys.
This was actually a concern for me. Didn't know what to expect out of Freese for instance. He had a rough first week, but has been great since then. The Cardinals are first in NL in fielding percentage, put-outs and assists. Only one error from the outfield, but only three assists out there also. Overall, you'd have to say that a big reason the pitching has been so good is that the defense has more than held their end.
Overall, you'd have to say that the pitching may take a little dip as we move through the season, but offense should pick-up the slack. Can we continue to win 2 out of every 3? Probably not, but I think we'll come close. The rest of the NL central is even worse than I though it would be, so I think we have real good chance at 100 wins this season.