Well it’s a new week and a new series, but our hometown heroes just keep producing the wins. We knocked down and dragged out the Reds on Sunday and flexed our muscles to the Mets tonight. The list keeps growing, but here are 5 more reasons why the Cardinals are the best team in baseball right now.
6. David Freese
Or, as a friend of mine prefers to call him, “Freezie.” Number 23 has extended his career high hit streak to 20 games after tonight, going 2-4. Freese looks comfortable at the plate these days, putting to rest some doubts that came up at the beginning of the season. He is more patient with his at bats, not looking so liable to chase and this plate patience has paid off as his average gets closer and closer to .300. Best of luck to David as he looks to continue his run. Pujols’ high is only 7 games away, just saying.
7. Runners in Scoring Position
Numbers don’t lie. St. Louis currently ranks number 1 with a .290 average with RISP and .269 with RISP and 2 outs. Productivity at its finest. We don’t call them the Cardiac Cardinals for nothing, although this year there seems to be more of a positive expectation when we are down to that last out and have a man on second. Tonight the Cardinals jumped on an opportunity granted by an error from Mets’ 3rd baseman David Wright and extended an inning to allow Allen Craig to blast a 3 run shot to take the lead.
8. Mitchell Boggs (or the lack thereof…)
Mitchell Boggs blew a gem by Michael Wacha against the Royals on May 30, prompting Mike Matheny to again send the struggling pitcher down to Memphis to resurrect his craft. He was strapped with a whopping 11.05 ERA and had allowed as many runs in the first 2 months of the 2013 season as he had all of 2012. What gives? It seems that he lacks composure and confidence on the mound, and the first stint in Memphis seemed to end prematurely. Keith Butler was called up to take Boggs’ spot on the roster, and thus far the rookie seems to at least induce less stress than Boggs. Here’s hoping that Matheny lets Boggs do his thing in Memphis for as long as necessary – the bullpen has shown marked improvement and needs to continue progressing in that direction.
9. Allen Craig
He’s versatile – no one can argue against that. Excellent defense both on first and in the outfield. Tonight he battled the wind to make 2 stellar catches in right field. Craig leads the team in RBIs with 44 (6th in the National League), and did you see that swing tonight? Enough to make the hair on the back of any pitcher’s neck stand on end! I’ll tell you one thing, I don’t know anyone who is missing a certain number 5 this year.
10. Clubhouse morale and that winning attitude.
No one can deny the fact that morale is key with a long and arduous season underway. The Cardinals have gone through their share of clubhouse rifts (Scott Rolen, anyone?), but it seems that this team has a morale at its highest. Leadership figures such as Adam Wainwright and Carlos Beltran have a constant command of respect in the dugout, and it is good to see the veterans handing out tips and advice between innings. Matheny has a strong hold on the team, and the guys seem to respect him to the utmost. He is out there arguing for his players and isn’t afraid to put welfare first (allowing Beltran to sit out tonight after flying to and from the Dominican Republic, for example). The key to success lies not only in numbers but also in team chemistry, and if the Cardinal clubhouse keeps singing Happy Flight, well this is going to be a fun summer, Cardinal fans.
I could keep going but I feel that you will get bored. So I will spare you the pain. The Cardinals continue to excite us this season–20 games over .500 and not showing any signs of slowing down. Can I get a big, fat GO CARDS?!