Five Questions with Redbird Rants: Are the World Series Champs Better?
By Tom Smith
When we look at the St. Louis Cardinals we get jealous. Quickly. An early look at this 2012 team shows a very well balanced team. Hell, in the early going the team looks better than the Albert Pujols led champions from 2012. A stud pitcher goes down, and he is replaced with the beast known as Lance Lynn.
We think that should change as the season goes along, but seriously… what the hell is going on in St. Louis? We reached out to ask RedBird Rants.
What can you let us know about the Cardinals starters in this series?
1. The Bucs are going to face the three best pitchers of the rotation so far in this young season. Lance Lynn, Jake Westbrook and Kyle Lohse have been phenomenal. Lynn is the only power pitcher of the three. Westbrook has gotten himself into great shape and it has shown on the field where he continues to get ground ball outs at a two-to-one rate over fly ball outs. Lohse has been virtually untouchable in each of this three starts.
It seems like the Cards pitchers are pitching six innings per game, but their pitch counts are very low, have they been that effective?
2. Part of that is the Cardinals offense has been obliterating opposing pitchers. It is a long season, so why push them hard early on? When the team can generate big leads, Mike Matheny has taken the chance to keep the bullpen loose in non-pressure situations.
How much has Carlos Beltran’s hot start meant to this club?
3. It’s made it easier to forget they lost the former cog in the machine. Beltran has been everything the Cardinals had hoped so far. Getting off to a good start has allowed him to ease into the clubhouse atmosphere and prevented the media from asking the “Do the Cardinals miss Pujols?” questions.
Can the RedBirds offense keep producing and is it possible, forgive me for this, to think this is a better TEAM without Pujols?
4. They can definitely continue to produce. The best part of this offense is the balance and they have very good complimentary parts on the bench. The Redbirds do not need to rely on one player.
The Cardinals run differential continues to shine atop baseball, but the team seems to not get much respect. Why is that?
5. My guess is everyone is waiting for the ax to drop. There are still plenty of question marks on the team. There are some older veterans and each has had health issues in the past. They lost one of their top starters for the second year in a row (though we don’t know how long Chris Carpenter will be out) and if anything people may feel they can’t keep finding a way to win. The team seems to play well with a chip on its shoulder. If they had their way they would love to be considered underdogs instead of favorites.