As the Cardinals are now two weeks into the young 2013 season, I figured I would write a recap and discuss some of the highs and lows at this point in the season. After twelve games, the Cardinals have an overall record of 7-5 (4-2 home). They have done a good job against division rivals, taking two out of three from both the Cincinnati Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers. They also took two of three from the defending champion San Francisco Giants, which had to feel good after the disappointing NLCS series last October. In the following article, I will list a couple pros and a couple cons of the season so far.
1. Adam Wainwright-Cardinals fans should be ecstatic about the start that Wainwright has had to this point. Although he got knocked around by the D’Backs in the season opener, he has been nothing short of sensational since. In three starts he has a 2-1 record with a 2.05 ERA. In 22 innings of work, he has 24 strikeouts which should not come as a huge surprise, but impressive nonetheless. Perhaps the two most important statistics are innings pitched and walks. Through three starts, Wainwright has 22 IP, which confirms the question of whether or not he is still able to go deep into games. Perhaps more importantly is his walk total…or lack thereof. Through three starts he has not issued a single free pass. You know what they say…walks will kill you. Maybe that’s why Wainwright has let up so few runs so far. With the injuries and contract situation out of the way, look for Wainwright to have a big year.
2. Matt Carpenter- Another pleasant surprise has been the offensive production of Matt Carpenter. He has played in all twelve games so far, and already has fifteen base hits. Though he only has one home run, he is still being very productive. He has fifteen hits, six RBI, and four walks, which shows that he also has patience at the plate. More importantly, six of his fifteen hits have been doubles, which has helped him to score thirteen runs in twelve games. He leads position players with a .319 batting average, and his on-base percentage is slightly higher.
1. Competition Level- What I mean by this is how the Cardinals play against teams with different talent levels. For example, they played extremely well in the two games that they beat the division rival Reds. That being said, they also came out slow against the weaker Arizona Diamondbacks, losing two of three to begin the season. Now that may have been just because it was the beginning of the season, so we’ll see how things play out going forward.
2. Road Play-Through six games on the road, the Cards are a mediocre 3-3. They dropped two of three in Arizona, one of which was a 10-9 loss to a decent-at-best Diamondbacks team. They did take two of three from the Giants, but the game that they lost was one where they could not get a run across throughout the entire game, losing 1-0. A better road record would have been 5-1 or 4-2 at the very least. I have no doubt that they will start to pick it up, but if they want to be a dangerous team, they will have to be significantly above .500 on the road this season.
The next few weeks will be a real test for the Cardinals. Through their next 16 games, they have six against the Pirates, four in Philly, three in DC, and three back at Busch against the Reds.