Joel PineiroST. LOUIS – Another good outing by a St. Louis starter and things continue to look up for the Redbirds this season.

All it takes is one good look around the league and a few calls by fans on talk radio to know that one of the biggest complaints about teams either winning or losing is the starting pitching. Offense seems to be the least of the Cardinals worries so far with three hitters (Ryan Ludwick 4, Albert Pujols 4, Rick Ankiel 3) in the National League’s top 20 in runs scored, two (Pujols 7, Ludwick 6) in hits, and Ludwick already with two homers.

Sitting at the top of the NL Central, the Cardinals have so far scored more runs than any other team in the division and rank third in the National League only behind Florida and Colorado.

But the selling point in determining how this season might go leans heavily on the St. Louis starters where only one (Todd Wellemeyer, 5) has given up more than two earned runs. Kyle Lohse, Joel Pineiro and Adam Wainwright have each allowed two while the surprise of the season thus far is Chris Carpenter who has a perfect ERA and has allowed only one hit.

Carpenter’s return performance on Thursday wasn’t going to be easy to follow and Pineiro knew that. But no worries. The Cardinals’ fifth starter bullied his way through 6.2 innings against the Houston Astros, allowing only two runs while walking only one.

As brash as it may sound, it’s time for the No. 1 and No. 3 starters to do their jobs. The Cardinals are 3-2 with wins coming from the second, fourth and fifth starters. Wainwright will get his shot at redemption today against the Astros, but with the back end of the rotation looking solid, there should be nothing but confidence coming from the pitching staff.

A sweep this weekend would not only give Cardinal Nation something to look forward to, but should send a message to the NL Central that despite not having big names up and down the lineup, this year’s St. Louis squad means business.

A couple of series wins should also give the team a boost heading into next weekend’s series against Chicago. The Cardinals know they will be out for blood and have more to prove than winning a series. The Northsiders are being picked by people all over the map as the team to lead the NL this season. Another letdown will only give screaming fans something else to cry about.

  1. jimskinner says:

    To think the Cardinals are in competition to go anywhere after their 162nd game of the year is not only a stretch, it won’t happen. Wainwright and Carpenter are top of the line pitchers. That’s no secret. Pujols is their offense. Ludwick and Ankiel are are not quality hitters but they will go into an occasional 7-10 day hot streak. In all reality, there is nothing else positive to say about the Cardinals. I do hope the Cardinals exceed your expectations. And I also recommend you do not set yourself up for a lot of disappointment. If you want to see how things will actually turn out, you should read my picks for this season.

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