ST. LOUIS – Can we start talking about the St. Louis Cardinals, now? Is it too late? Is it too early? All of the “experts” picked the Redbirds to finish near the end of the pack in the NL Central and since Spring Training the only debate has been whether the Cubs or Brewers would win the division.

 

Tony LaRussa had other plans.

 

Sure, the Cubs (18-3) have a good record and a solid lineup with big names like Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee, Kosuke Fukudome and Alfonso Soriano, but big names don’t win divisions. Wins win divisions. The Cubs are also leading the league in runs scored. Runs don’t win divisions, wins win divisions.

 

If you lead the league in runs, shouldn’t you have more wins? You might think that would be the case, but inconsistency is the reason Chicago is not currently in first place. This weekend’s three-game series with the Cardinals aids in proving the point.

 

In three games at Busch Stadium, the Cubs outscored the Cardinals 15-13. St. Louis won two of the three games.

 

Still not buying the whole run scoring debate? The Atlanta Braves (15-15), Houston Astros (16-16), and Pittsburgh Pirates (12-19) have all scored more runs than the Cardinals (20-12) who hold the second best record in Major League Baseball. If you want to include both leagues, the 14-18 Detroit Tigers have also outscored the Cardinals so far this season.

 

You have to think that LaRussa is the answer, and there’s no other way to put it than to say he is a quality manager that gets the most out of his players no matter how much they are getting paid or what names are on the backs of their jerseys.

 

Much of the success of the Cardinals and struggles of the Cubs has come from the leadoff spot. Will the Cubs continue to be stubborn, or will they admit, like Jerry Angelo has about Cedric Benson, that Alfonso Soriano might not be worth his $136 million contract?

 

 

   

 

Player

 

 

G

 

AB

 

R

 

H

 

2B

 

3B

 

HR

 

RBI

 

TB

 

BB

 

SO

 

SB

 

CS

 

OBP

 

SLG

 

AVG

 

 

Skip Schumaker

31

114

24

34

7

1

2

11

49

14

13

3

0

.375

.430

.298

 

 

Alonso Soriano

17

75

9

13

2

0

3

10

24

5

16

3

0

.222

.320

.173

 

 

The Cardinals have won seven of their last 10 games, and the only other NL Central team that comes close to matching that streak is the Houston Astros who have won six in as many games. They should probably also be added to the conversation. The Brewers on the other hand, have lost seven of their last 10 and are in danger of slipping to fourth place in the division in favor of the Astros.

 

There is no argument that the Cubs are one of the best teams in the division, but until they are crowned Division champs at the end of the season, you have to wonder if it is all just hype. Starting rotation and bullpen worries have most recently clouded the thinking that they were going to run right through the league and into the playoffs. ESPN’s Buster Olney, who picked the Northsiders to go to the World Series is also admitting that the Cardinals are the real deal and expects them to stick around for the rest of the season.

 

It should be an interesting summer. And don’t worry Cubs fans. Your team still has six games remaining this month against the Pirates.

 

 

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Comments
  1. JayVee says:

    You must be happy your boys are performing well. Mine, not so much… .500 is a rough spot to be in, but it’s only April…wait, now it’s May. Ugh!

  2. Luke says:

    I love it when Cubs are looking up, and that’s most of the time.

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