Birds Barrel Into 2012

It’s only been 6 games, but the St. Louis Cardinals have stormed out of the gate with 5 victories in which they’ve outscored opponents 34-11.

By Cannon Huge

The lone loss came at the hands of Zach Grienke at Miller Park, where he has never lost a game in his career. The Birds crashed the party in South Beach before reminding Milwaukee how it feels to lose on home turf, and then taking the first two in Cincy.

The bats have struck early and often. Three times the starting pitcher has had the lead before throwing his first pitch. Through April 9th, the offense leads MLB in a number of key offensive categories: hits, runs, doubles, home runs, and RBI’s.

The running game is alive again, with the Birds already on pace for roughly 40 more stolen bases then they had last year, when they ranked 2nd to last in baseball with only 57 swiped bags.

They have hit 3 home runs in one inning twice in the last four games, with last night’s barrage in the span of just nine pitches from Homer Bailey, all with two outs.

David Freese hasn’t missed a beat since his legendary October, and is showing legitimate signs of being a perennial All Star. Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday, and Lance Berkman are showing no signs of post-Albert disorder. Stay healthy boys.

And then there’s the stellar starting pitching. Only 8 earned runs allowed in 38 2/3 innings. All after a sobering report on the condition of co-ace Chris Carpenters shoulder. Carpenters replacement, Lance Lynn, perhaps had the most impressive début, striking out 8 while surrendering just 2 hits over 6 2/3 innings Sunday in Milwaukee. In the rubber game of a key early season series, Lynn simply shut the Brewers down, at one point striking out four in a row after a solo shot to Cory Hart.

Kyle Lohse has two wins under his belt as he looks to bank in on a contract season. Jaime Garcia overcame early adversity and rebounded to spoil Milwaukee’s home opener. Jake Westbrook legitimized his strong spring training throwing 7 innings, which only required 88 pitches. Oh, and finally the return of ace Adam Wainwright. He’s back, and anyone who saw the game Saturday recognized. Expect him back in Cy-Young form very soon.

The Redbirds have excelled in every aspect of the game early in a season when a fast start was mandatory. Facing NL central division foes for 27 of their first 28 games left no time for getting comfortable.

It’s April 11th, there is still 97% of the season left, but the Cards look like a top team in the National League, and very capable of defending their World Series Crown.

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