Cardinal Punch

It all comes down to production.

There are many reasons why the Saint Louis Cardinals are currently the third best team in Major League Baseball. Only two teams currently stand better, but not by much. The Cleveland Indians, and the San Francisco Giants.

The Cardinals are maintaining a win to loss ratio of almost 1.5 to 1, which is easily enough to compete in the 2011 National League Central. If you take a look at the overall team statistics, the Cardinals are finding ways to dominate.

Which team has the most runs at 250? The Cardinals.

Which team has the highest batting average at .281? The Cardinals

Which team has the highest on base percentage at .357? The Cardinals

Oh yeah, the Cardinals also stand fourth league wide in slugging percentage at .420!

It is awfully hard to lose games when you are leading baseball in nearly every vital offensive category. Sure this team has had struggles in the bullpen. Some are questioning how in the world Mitch Boggs gets sent down to the minors over Ryan Franklin. The question may never be solved. Call it politics I suppose.

What I do know is that Saint Louis is crushing the surface of the baseball. We witnessed it in the final two games of the series in Kansas City. Balls pelted off the outfield walls, some reaching the fountains. Not fun for a Royals fan to sit through.

Along with grinding pitching performances from Jaime Garcia alone, Chris Carpenter is seemingly heading back to his dominant ways. Albert Pujols is still on the treacherous climb back to a .300 average, but he is still backing up that statistic with eight homers and twenty-six RBI. That is more than enough production from a lineup in which a weakness is so hard to identify. Berkman, Rasmus, Molina, and my favorite, John Jay are all getting good work in. When the Cardinals score runs, a great pitching effort usually follows. In 2011, there has yet to be a more productive team that the Cards.

How does anybody expect to beat a team that is taking advantage of most it’s opportunities?

As far as the BEST team in Major League Baseball goes, you still have to give the Indians in Cleveland most of the credit. They have lost a few games recently, but still grasp the best record in the league. They have yet to go on a losing streak worth speculating, which at this point of the season, is a tell tale sign of a good team. As much as analysts and gurus what to turn this into a story of luck, I don’t buy it.

The Indians are good. They are for real. Visit www.battleofohiobaseball.com to get the inside scoop on why this team is the league’s best. They have played the Royals and have completely destroyed them. That’s not saying too much, but after watching every game in their series with KC, you can easily tell they are a team that is properly managed and put together- from an clubhouse and front office perspective. The Indians are for real.

The Giants success isn’t anything shocking. Coming off a World Series win, they didn’t lose anybody from last years roster that was an essential piece to their winning ways. Tim Lincecum doesn’t have the record to show it, but he is still putting up incredible numbers aside from the overall win/loss. Only problem now is Buster Posey. That injury looked horrible. Look for a shakeup in the momentum; he was a huge asset that now sees nothing more than the DL.

The Cardinals though, have put up a decent fight each time. They carry a 1-2 record against the Giants in three matchups this season. They look to respond more positively in their series next week.

The Cardinals next three opponents are interesting ones. They first make route to Colorado to take on the Rockies tonight for a three game set over the weekend. After fighting the altitude changes, its back home to the real fight when those pesky Giants visit Busch. After four grueling games against the defending champs, the Cubbies arrive to Saint Louis to round out the home stand.

The home stand comes at a great time as it gives the team a superb opportunity to really separate themselves from the Reds and then the Brewers, which of whom, are currently on fire. Expect the pitching to be there and the hitting to back it up. The Cardinals are in a real nice vibe right now and there is no better time for seven straight homes games than right now. The division still remains a tight one with a two and a half game lead over Milwaukee, but what a great chance to climb…

Colorado, losers of their last two games, are playing mediocre baseball of late and have really been slumping since the last week in April. Buster Posey is out for season in San Fran, and Cubs are the eye sore of the Central- all great matchups for a Cardinals team looking so vibrant of late.

An interesting Memorial Day weekend is ahead…Time to grill, enjoy the weather, gather with friends, and watch some good baseball.

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