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Cardinals Flashback

One month ago today, I wrote a post called Watch Out For the Cardinals.  I hemmed and hawed a lot, because St. Louis looked pretty bad (and aside from the last three games, they still have some serious flaws), but it's looking alarmingly prescient:

The pitching is less likely to propel the team on a hot streak, especially since Carpenter's return is in question now. Originally, there was talk he'd make it back by the end of the month, but he pitched poorly on rehab starts, and has since been shut down again. He might not pitch again this season. That leaves the rotation full of guys like Mike Maroth and Kip Wells, and that's probably enough to keep the Cards in third place. But you never know; nearly everybody in the rotation has had a stretch of effectiveness. If the offense starts putting up five runs a game, Wainwright and the rest might be able to do the job.

In the second half, they are just under 5 per game.  They are allowing that many, too, but luck is bouncing back in their favor.  When I wrote that article, it was just before the news hit that Carpenter was definitely not coming back; had I known that, I probably wouldn't have bothered.  Then again, I didn't expect that the Cards would give so many at-bats to guys like Ankiel and Ludwick over entrenched vets like Encarnacion.  That has helped, and the mindset (if not the specific players) are likely to help down the stretch, too.