We’re quietly creeping up on the quarter-mark of the baseball season and the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting pitchers are putting together quite the run. Friday night rookie Shelby Miller allowed a leadoff hit then proceeded to retire the next 27 Rockies in order. The next day staff ace Adam Wainwright took a no-hitter into the eighth against Colorado, which had come into the series with the best batting average in baseball.
It appears ERA trumps batting average (which shouldn’t even be a statistic, right? RIGHT!) in this particular matchup, though the Rockies won the final game of the series 8-2.
As of Monday, the NL Central-leading Cardinals have the best team ERA in baseball at 3.03, nearly a third of a run better than the Rangers. The number could drop even lower this week as the light-hitting Mets — who are starting ex-Card Rick Ankiel in center tonight after claiming him from the Astros tonight — come to Busch Stadium for a four-game series.
Imagine where the St. Louis team ERA would be if you were able to lop off the 15 earned runs reliever Mitchell Boggs coughed up in 10+ innings?
Either way, all five of the Cardinals’ starters own sub-3.00 ERAs, led by Miller’s 1.58 mark in 45+ innings. More surprising is sinkerball-tossing journeyman Jake Westbrook, who is also under 2.00, although he was recently added to the disabled list.
The now-svelte Lance Lynn and healthy Jamie Garcia are each posting solid numbers, while Wainwright has struck 55 compared to only four walks in 58+ innings, with a miniscule 2.30 ERA. That’s certainly living up to the five-year $97.5 million deal the 31-year-old righty signed in Spring Training.
St. Louis, perhaps more than any other club, appears to have a production line from the minors to the majors and excels at developing talent. It’s a smart system that has worked out. Lynn, Miller and Garcia were all draft picks who panned out, while Wainwright was acquired back in 2003 in a six-player deal from Atlanta that netted the Braves J.D. Drew.
In the watered down National League with five clubs making the playoffs, it’s hard to envision a scenario where St. Louis isn’t in the postseason nearly every season. This year will be no exception.
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[Photo via Getty]