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Reality Check

With less than a month before the all-star break, the Cards find themselves seven games over .500 and a game over the Reds for first place in the Central Division. Although the Reds have been a bit of a surprise this season, a one game lead in the division is not something to hang our beautiful red hats on. Despite the fact that the Reds haven’t had a winning season since 2000, this is a team that certainly will be there in the end. With a solid core of starters, and an explosive offense playing in a home stadium where even Scott Rolen can have 15 homeruns before the break with one shoulder, this a team that will certainly continue there winning ways. Talent wise, there is no arguing that the Cards are better from top to bottom. At the helm of the Reds is Dusty Baker, who has proven himself as a great manager in the past. So if the Cardinals cannot pull away from the Reds by around the trade deadline, be very afraid of formal Cardinals General Manager Walt Jocketty to pull a few strings to get the reds a player or two that would give them the lift they would need to make a serious playoff push. We Cardinal’s fans can remember some of Jocketty’s magic in the recent past (Mcgwire, Clark, Walker, etc.). But despite losing Lohse (possibly a blessing, if only we could lose his fat contract) and Penny, the Cardinals starting pitching has still been excellent. Picking up a seasoned veteran in Jeff Suppan was a huge signing. It was cheap and despite his troubles in a Brewers uniform, Suppan looked cleaned and polished back in the Cards jersey, and looked toned and consistent on the mound as well. Once Penny gets back, every Cardinal’s starter will certainly be giving this team a chance to win every night. The offense speaks for itself, and with a surging Holliday finding his niche in the two hole in front of Albert, the lack of run support should hopefully become a thing of the past. Even Schumaker and Ryan are seeing the ball better now. Offensively, the Cardinals have one of the best in the majors. Starting pitching, when healthy, I do not know a team with a better rotation than the Birds. The bullpen has been starting to take its shape, but one injury there would be a huge issue in a bullpen that has not been able to find its depth.

The Cardinal’s next stop is Toronto, who though boosts the same amount of victories as the Birds, find themselves in fourth place in the American League East, (this is not new to them). After that, all remaining series before the break are against losing teams. It would be nice to see the Birds take advantage and have a more comfortable lead in the division when the all-star break does come. Although the Cardinal’s have been living comfortably in a division where lack of competition means skating through the regular season modestly into the post season, if the Cardinal’s don’t buckle down soon, start playing some defense (the Cardinals have 50 errors to the Reds 27), this team could find themselves in a serious division race at the end of the year.

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