While the Cardinals were expected to be a solid team coming into the season, nobody could have expected this. The Cardinals currently rank 2nd in baseball in batting average with .277, 2nd in runs scored with 326, 7th in OPS with .749, 1st in team ERA with 3.17, and 1st in wins with 42 (one of 3 teams with 40 wins, the others being Boston and Cincinnati.) In short, the Cardinals have been an absolute force on both sides of the ball. Their run differential, which stands at an absolutely ridiculous +105, is the best in baseball by a long shot. In fact, the closest team to the Cardinals is Detroit, with a +81 differential.
How are they doing it? Their young pitching is key. Cardinals’ rookies have an astounding 18 wins on the season. Compare this to the Miami Marlins, who only have 19 wins as a team on the year. In particular, Shelby Miller (7-3, 1.91 ERA) has been an absolute force out of the Cardinals’ rotation. Lance Lynn, a rookie last season, is also 8-1 with a 3.00 ERA.
However, while the Cardinals have had arguably baseball’s best pitching so far, their hitting has not been slouching at all. Yadier Molina, who is hitting .351 on the year, has the NL’s second best batting average. Matt Carpenter (who really should be leading the NL All Star Votes for Second Base) has hit .327/.409/.473 on the season. Allen Craig has hit .313, and Carlos Beltran has hit .305 with an impressive 14 homers. Overall, the Cardinals’ lineup is dangerous all the way through.
The Cardinals are winning because of an impressive approach at the plate. They hit the ball to the opposite way, they go up the middle, and they hit with RISP. If there is any team who will end up better than the Cards, they haven’t shown it yet.