Vaughn: This is what we thought the Cards would be -

Vaughn: This is what we thought the Cards would be

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By Brendan Marks By Brendan Marks

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- The Cardinals are on a roll. With today’s win at Chicago, the Cards have now won four in a row and seven of their last eight. Lance Lynn didn’t have much today, but still hung around long enough to get his 13th victory.

With the exception of the Lynn start today the Cardinals have been getting consistent, and at times, dominating starting pitching since the All Star break. Their starters ERA is the best in the National League in July. The bullpen has been reliable. Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte have both been lights out. Motte picked up his 23rd save today. He could get 40 before the season’s over.

The line-up features .300 hitters from top to bottom. They have five guys with 14 homeruns or more. The Cardinals lead the National League in hits, runs, total bases, batting average, RBI’s, slugging percentage and on base plus slugging percentage. When you look at the stats you can’t help but think this is exactly the team we were hoping to see when the season began.

The big question of course is how can a team with a plus-97 run differential possibly be five games out of first place? Plus 97! That’s the best in baseball. You’d think with that number they’d be at least 10 games ahead of the pack in the National League Central. Instead, they’re looking up at both the Reds and the Pirates.

But it does feel like the Cardinals have put the rough patch of the season behind them and are ready to get busy. They have a chance with two more games against the woeful Cubs, and then a series in Colorado to put together a big winning streak and erase most of the Reds' lead.

The trade deadline is looming. Tuesday is the last day teams can make a trade without a player having to clear waivers. At the moment, it doesn’t look the Cardinals need to do much of anything. They’re in pretty good shape. I’d hate to see them part with a priced prospect for a rent-a-player. A couple of weeks ago I thought just the opposite.

General Manager John Mozeliak was wise to be patient. With most of the injured players now healthy and contributing again (Jon Jay, Lance Berkman, Matt Carpenter) the Cardinals have given us reason to be very optimistic about the remainder of the season.


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