- Urlacher Calls It A CareerPosted 2 days ago
- Why not Wacha?Posted 2 days ago
- Wiggins Commits to KansasPosted 10 days ago
- Back to BasicsPosted 10 days ago
- Jets Need to Cut SanchezPosted 11 days ago
- Gronkowski To Need Fourth, Possibly Fifth SurgeryPosted 16 days ago
- Thoughts of a Blues FanPosted 17 days ago
- Chris Kluwe Released by Vikings, No One SurprisedPosted 18 days ago
- Lebron vs Carmelo; Who Is Real MVP?Posted 18 days ago
- Jason Collins; Talk Will Do NothingPosted 23 days ago
The Redbird Roost
- Updated: April 17, 2012
The first edition of “The Redbird Roost” - featuring St. Louis Cardinals news, stats, and thoughts!
The Cardinals have started the 2012 season and the quest for “12 in 12″ in amazing fashion, going 7-3 in the first week and a half. Although longtime manager Tony LaRussa is no longer calling the shots for the Redbirds, this team has done something the old skipper always stressed, which is win each series. After christening the new Marlins Park with a 4-1 win over Miami, the Cardinals took two out of three against central division foes Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and Chicago on their way to a great start to 2012. Things look good in St. Louis right now as the team leads the majors in hitting with a .299 team batting average, 106 hits (16 more than any other team), 57 runs, a .359 OBP, and a .504 slugging percentage. All this has been accomplished with a lineup that no longer features Mr. Pujols and has seen Lance Berkman and David Freese miss a couple games each with injuries. Yes, we know it’s only the first month of the season, but there are a lot of things to be excited about for Cardinal fans as the season kicks into high gear.
The Cincinnati Reds come to town for a three game series before the Cardinals hit the road to visit Pittsburgh and Chicago. The division games continue as the Brewers and Pirates come to town and a span of 27 straight division games ends with three in Houston. The Cardinals hot start and early schedule gives them a great chance to jump out to a big lead in the division, as all 5 other NL Central teams are off to slow, sub .500 starts. Only the LA Dodgers (9-1) and the Texas Rangers (8-2) have better records than the Redbirds, who hope to get a trio of players back from injury in the coming weeks. Chris Carpenter, Allen Craig, and Skip Schumaker all have yet to see any playing time, which makes this fast start to the 2012 campaign even more impressive.
Flash back to the last season when the Cardinals were “out of the picture” in the playoff race and the talk of the town was about Tyler Green’s playing time at second base after his call-up. If I had told you then that the 2012 squad would have no TLR, Dave Duncan or Pujols and that Chris Carpenter, Allen Craig and Skip Schumaker would start the season on the DL, what would you have predicted this team would do in it’s first 10 games? What if I told you that Adam Wainwright’s first two starts would have covered a total of 8.2 innings, yielded 11 earned runs, and both ended in losses? What if I told you this opening day roster would feature players like Matt Carpenter, Erik Komatsu, and Shane Robinson? How about having Lance Lynn in the starting rotation? To top it off, David Freese and Lance Berkman will battle through injuries and you will have a manager with ZERO managerial experience under his belt. I don’t know about you, but if you had told me that even a week before opening day this year I would have never guessed that the team would be sporting a 7-3 record, have a 2.5 game lead in the central, and possess the leagues top ranked offense. But as we learned very well last October, anything is possible.
I’m not so much surprised by the offense of this club. I knew this team would still produce, I’m just surprised at where some of the production is coming from. Matt Carpenter has a 4 hit, 5 RBI game already and Rafael Furcal got off to a great start in the leadoff spot after a sub-par spring training. This team has hit 15 home runs so far and has been aggressive on the bases with 6 steals. The starting rotation has been held together by Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook, who, in my opinion will be fantasy baseball steals this year if you can get your hands on them. Lance Lynn has been a huge surprise, going 2-0 with 13 K’s during his fill in job for ace Chris Carpenter. All of this is positive for the team, but I’d have to say that the biggest positive for this club is the 5-2 road record and the 6-3 mark against division opponents. Winning on the road and beating teams that you should beat are two things that, to me, are important for rookie skipper Mike Matheny and his ballclub. He obviously has this team playing hard and is off to a fantastic start to what should be a great managerial career. I’m sure there will be speed bumps along the way for this team, but they’ve shown so far that they can take them in stride. In the next couple weeks the most important thing for this team will be health. Get Freese and Berkman back to where they need to be (both should return to the lineup during the Cincinnati series) and hopefully see Carp, Craig, and Skip return to action. It’s exciting to think about the possibilities for this year and I can’t wait to see it all unfold!
Photo courtesy of flickr user Herkie