A look back: Cards offense, starting pitching highlight strong f - KMOV.com

A look back: Cards offense, starting pitching highlight strong first half

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By John Bailey By John Bailey

(Baseball StL) -- After 93 games, the Cardinals have powered their way to the best record in baseball. The Cards have had the National League’s best record at the All-Star break 6 times in the last 50 years. The Redbirds have won the World Series in 5 of those seasons. How does this 2013 Cardinals team shape up after the first half?

The Cards appear primed for another postseason run thanks to the N.L’s most potent offensive attack, along with a pitching staff led by League wins leader Adam Wainwright (12). Here’s how the Cardinals offense has muscled their way through the first half, despite David Freese and Matt Holliday not quite hitting their strides:

1) Yadier Molina, Carlos Beltran, and Allen Craig are among the top 5 hitters in batting average in the N.L: Molina leads the league with a .341 average.

2) Six Cardinals have at least 35 or more RBI’s.


3) The Cards have five of the top 10 N.L. hitters with runners in scoring position. 

A Cardinals pitching staff, that became Sports Illustrated cover boys in May, has had their ups and downs since that time. Lefty Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook have missed numerous games due to injuries, while Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller have struggled with control in the last two months.

The biggest question mark on this pitching staff in spring training was the status of Jason Motte’s injured elbow. The Cardinal right hander had season ending Tommy John surgery, and Edward Mujica emerged as the closer. The 29-year-old Mujica, who had only six career saves before this season, has racked up 26 saves and became an All-Star.

Even though their 57-36 record leads all of baseball, it’s still only good enough to lead Pittsburgh by just one game in the Central. The Pirates are also having an excellent season, led by Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez. Now fielding five All-Stars for the first time since 1972, the Pirates are seeking to end a record streak of 20 consecutive losing seasons with a Central Division title. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Reds trail the Cards by five games.

A Cardinals team that’s anchored by six All-Stars begins their second half on Friday at Busch Stadium against the San Diego Padres.

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