I think if anyone had told you 2 weeks ago that by the time the Cardinals take the field on tax day that they would be 9-4 you would have thought that person was nuts. But when the Cardinals take the field against the Brewers on Tuesday they will be in first place and have the best record in the NL Central.
How has this happened? There are three factors to me that have made the difference. First they have gotten surprisingly good starting pitching. I think if you had Tony La Russa hooked up to a lie detector he would even tell you that he didn't expect the starters to be this good this early.
Second the Cardinals play hard on every pitch and every play. I have been pleasantly surprised at the hustle that this team has demonstrated. They very easily could have packed it in on Saturday and Sunday against the Giants and yet they pulled out the game on Saturday and had a couple opportunities to steal the game on Sunday.
Finally the schedule can't be overlooked and this might be the downside to the start. Colorado has gotten off to an awful start. The Nationals just got done finishing up an 8 game losing streak. The Astros have the worst record in the NL Central and the Giants are among the worst teams in baseball. Now you can only win the games that are on your schedule but before everyone gets too crazy do realize that the Cardinals have been fattening up against some poor teams.
I am cautiously optimistic about the start. What makes me the most happy though is that it appears it is not going to be a completely lost summer at Busch Stadium and there are signs of hope for the Cards.