Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Silver Linings

From the World According to Joe Mammy


I'm not going to say the sky is falling because at 20-12 the Cardinals would be at most two games out of the lead in any other division and after 32 games they're only one game out of first in the Central.  That said, I've noticed something that does concern me.  The Cardinals have been dominant in the past two years because they're able to win in their division.  So far this year the Cards are at a respectable 11-11 in the Central.  However, if you take the Cardinals record in the Central without the abysmal whipping boys in Pittsburgh, their record is a far less stellar 6-10. 


I'm sure Tony La Russa and company are well aware that they looked anemic against the Astros and the Reds in the past week.  In all fairness the second game of the Reds' series probably shouldn't count with Pujols, Edmonds and Rolen out of the starting line up.  I don't even remember seeing a lineup missing all of them in the close weeks of a season with a comfortable lead in the division.  But it still doesn't look good when the Cardinals have trouble beating the good teams in their own division.  In fact the Cardinals' record against winning teams in general is 9-10 (and that's giving the Phillies the benefit of the doubt as being a winning team in the opening series) which doesn't say the end is near, but you'd like to see a better record if the Cardinals are going to continue to be one of the elite teams in the Major Leagues.  On the positive side, that does mean the Cardinals are winning games against weaker teams—they're winning the games they're supposed to win.  The Central Division is one of the toughest most consistent divisions in baseball and the Cards are going to need a stronger showing in order to secure another playoff berth.


On a happier note, Izzy hasn't blown a save in a while.  It hasn't been easy on my blood pressure the last few outings, but no blown saves.  While it's really not the most inspiring to say that at least he hasn't lost any games, it is a sign that Izzy is rebounding and returning to his consistent (if often maddening) form.  Other than a bit of a waver in Florida the bullpen has been the bullpen we're used to seeing.


In either case from the looks of it, it should be an easier month for the Cardinals facing only division rival Houston at the end of the month.  Otherwise the Cards face the generally weaker NL West and the Pirates of the AL, the Royals.  Aside from a series against the Mets who appear to be a legitimate post season contender and Houston, the rest of schedule doesn't appear to have the same kind of punch that June and July have in store.  Hopefully the Cards can get their kinks worked out during a (hopefully) easier month schedule-wise.


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