I posted this on July 3, while the team was looking considerably better:
The idea while Carpenter, Edmonds, Eckstein, Rolen, Looper, etc have been injured was to 'survive'. The Cardinals have done that. With their hodge-podge rotation and hodge-podge lineups they've been able to play .500 baseball and almost break even in the run differential.
What is astonishing is that as much maligned the rotation was for 'falling apart' after their terrific start, they've stayed moderately consistent. With Carpenter's return soon after the All-Star Break, the additions of Percival and Maroth, it has to be believed that they'll not balloon into allowing more runs.
That awful, awful start may have doomed the season. The -43 run differential is staggering, especially looking at how it much the offense has improved since that time.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that the there is reason for hope, other than just waxing poetic. The team has yet to be full strength or atleast the strength we can expect.
Yet, the Cardinals have been able to play .500 ball. They're going to have to go on a 26 game stretch of .600+ ball to erase that horrid start, though.
The Cardinals had started the season (in 26 game intervals) like this:
So, then what is there to make of the team. Well, firstly that -16 Run Differential wasn't helped by the last game of it being a -14 stretch.
Over the these last 12 games, the Cardinals have gone 6-6, .500 baseball. They have put up a run differential of 58 RS and 45 RA. Yay, finally a positive run differential! + 13!!!
That Cardinals really aren't playing like a great team. What they are doing is playing like an average team. They've allowed the teams that are ahead of them, who started out a remarkable paces to fall back to the Cardinals.
As Pujols said, "The Cardinals still haven't played their best baseball", that is, if you think they are better than a .500 team.