I have to say, I am extremely impressed by the outcome of the first half of the Cardinals’ season. Injuries have rattled, but not broken, our resolve.
The Cardinals finished off a very solid first half with winning series against the Pirates and the Brewers respectively. Expectations mounted as fans saw the Cardinals win despite their injuries. With Molina, objectively the best defensive catcher in baseball, out for the season—the Cards will have to look for other teammates to lead on the field. It will not, however, take a miracle.
Miracles are almost the expectation for Cardinals fans. No one can forget the magical 2011 season when the Cardinals were out 11 games with one month to go and ESPN projected that they had a 0.2% chance of making the playoffs. This year, the odds are in their favor. Milwaukee has fallen from grace. The once dominant top seed in the NL Central is only one game ahead of the Redbirds and all but imploded during their most recent three series. If the Cardinals can capitalize on a demoralized Brewers lineup, they might see real success in the coming weeks.
The Cardinals will also be getting back a lot of help on defense. Wacha will return soon give the Cards one more power arm. Waino is showing no sign of relenting with the best ERA among starters, unless he starts grooving his pitches to the Brewers (too soon?). Neshek is flat-out incredible and a pleasure to watch. Even Lance Lynn, who I am extremely skeptical of, has kept his composure this season as he looks to improve on an already stellar season.
The offense is also starting to sputter back to life. The Cardinals have raised their batting average over the past few weeks as well. If they can even out their runs scored per game, they could make a nasty surge in the NL Central to well above Milwaukee. It is because of the fact that they are one of the lowest scoring teams in baseball that I hope Matheny makes a trade before the deadline.
Overall, the Cardinals can have a successful year without trading. They can make the playoffs and win a few games. However, in order to have a fighting chance at a twelfth ring, they need more power.