This is where we make the best case for MLB realignment. The National League Central has six teams, and that is bad for all for reasons we can discuss later. With a 48-50 record, the St. Louis Cardinals find themselves in third place in the only sixth team division in MLB. They have gone 19-16 against their five divisional opponents, and had an 8-7 record in interleague play. They have spent nearly 60 days in first place, but a seven game slide in June has really cost them in their divisional race.
The Cardinals offense has scored 456 runs on 885 hits. Those numbers are both in the top two of the 16 NL clubs. The only real knock on this team is they are second to last in the senior circuit in stolen bases. However, with 94 home runs and just 599 strikeouts (lowest in the NL), they have plenty of power so base stealing is not the big of a deal. Cardinals hitters have also drawn 338 walks. That number is in the top three in their league.
Their pitching staff has given up 429 runs on 881 hits. Both of those numbers are in the bottom third of the senior circuit. The staff ERA is 3.93 and that is in the bottom half of the NL. Cardinals pitchers have struck out a NL second least batters with 630, and they have issued the second highest number of free passes. That walk total is not a good number and we can start to see the reason they had a mid June slide. Three of their starting five are close to double digit wins, but the bullpen (mostly middle innings guys) have struggled a bit.
This is still a pretty good baseball team that could use a few good arms to make a strong push in the second half of the 2011 season.
•St. Louis Cardinals news and notes