A marathon, not a sprint

Sometimes, an off day can be a good thing. With 162 regular season games over six long months, it takes endurance for the players to make it through. And after a tough 3-4 road trip, a day to rest and recharge is a welcome break.

The same is true for us as fans, particularly after a bump in the road like the past week. We live and die with each game, sometimes each inning or every pitch. Our moods are often determined by what we’re watching the Cardinals do on our television screens or computer monitors. So a short break to recharge is necessary for us as well.

With its length, the six-month baseball season is a marathon. Right now we’re just over 5 miles into the 26.2 mile race that ends on Oct. 1. It’s easy to get panicked at the outcome of a particular game or a series, or what is or isn’t happening with the hitting. I do it, but also keep reminding myself to keep the big picture in mind. The sixth week of the season is just starting, so there’s so much more ahead.

But we’ve covered some ground so far – what do we know after 32 games?

    • The Cardinals have the best record in the National League, 20-12. (Although the Phillies winning last night brought them into a tie with the Cards record-wise.)
    • The Cardinals have a 5-4 record for May. (So, despite last week, still above .500!)
    • Losing series to the Giants and Phillies in April and May doesn’t mean the Cardinals can’t beat them in October.
    • The NL Central is not very good. The Reds, currently 17-15, are the only team beside the Cardinals with a winning record. The Astros, at 10-21, have the worst record in the National League (and play the Cardinals for three games starting tonight).
  • The Cards pitching still leads the majors in ERA, currently at 2.68. The bullpen continues to impress.
  • Jaime Garcia is the real deal. He had a tough-luck loss on Saturday, but has done nothing but excel in his six starts. At the moment he has the third-best ERA in the National League at 1.18.
  • Adam Wainwright just continues to roll along like he did last season.
  • Kyle Lohse should not be winless.
  • Brendan Ryan deserves a Gold Glove. (And a reality show.)
  • The kids are pretty good. Sunday’s game was definitely fun to watch, not just to see all those run-scoring hits but also to see who was hitting them. Tyler Greene, Joe Mather and Nick Stavinoha all had RBIs (Stavi had two) during their chance to start.
  • Yadi does it all.
  • David Freese has been a pleasant surprise and continues to lead the team in hitting. (And the coolest superhero mask.)
  • Hitting-wise, the Cardinals are 13th in the majors and 8th in the NL in batting average.
  • More consistent hitting, especially with runners in scoring position, would be most welcome.
  • The Cardinals are striking out a lot – 245 times so far. That puts them on pace to strike out 1,225 times this season, compared to last year’s 1,041. Although, NL-wide, they currently are 23rd in strikeouts. (That doesn’t really make me feel any better about the number of Ks, though.)
  • Albert is not yet having an Albert season. But there’s plenty of time.
  • Similarly, Matt Holliday is not yet having a typical season.
  • Of the Cardinals 12 losses, 5 have been by only 1 run and 3 by only 2 runs. The worst was by 5 runs, against the Phillies last week.
  • And, finally, there are still 130 games left to be played – starting again tonight as the marathon continues. Go Cardinals!

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