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Alert: The Cardinals are really, really good

Jun 14, 2013, 10:15 PM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds Getty Images

Yeah, they lost 5-4 to the lowly Marlins tonight. However, entering tonight’s game, the Cardinals had baseball’s best record at 43-23 with a run differential of +102 runs. It is the best start through 66 games, in terms of run differential, since the  2003 Mariners were +106. A team has been +100 or better through the first 66 games just five other times in this millennium, with the ’01 Mariners, ’02 Yankees and Red Sox, and ’08 Cubs joining the ’03 Mariners.

But, as we know, hot starts don’t always last forever. The Cardinals are on pace to be +250 over an entire season, a feat that has only been achieved five times since the 162-game schedule was adopted in the early 1960’s: by the ’98 Yankees (+309), ’01 Mariners (+300), ’69 Orioles (+262), ’98 Astros (+254), and ’75 Reds (+254). Two of those teams — the Yankees and Reds — won the World Series. Even if you lower the threshold to +200, only an additional 15 teams join the list.

It hasn’t been talked about much, but through 66 games this season, the Cardinals are looking really, really good. Whether they can hold steady through the next 96 games and into the post-season, however, remains to be seen.

  1. Old Gator - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    Alert: Jose Fernandez is really, really good. Seven innings, six hits, two earned runs, ten strikeouts against the best team in baseball.

    Alert: Jake Westbrook just off a month on the DL really, really looked like he was favoring his elbow – not that it hurt, but that he was being perhaps too careful not to hurt it again.

  2. okwhitefalcon - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    Fernandez looked great, nasty.

    Every strike out he got was on his curve, very impressive.

    Westbrook looked like a guy who just came off the DL with an elbow injury that nearly sent him to surgery. It’ll be interesting to see how he feels tomorrow.

    Unfortunate call on the (alleged) HBP that allowed Stanton to put the Feesh up 5-2.

    On topic..

    I’m not a huge fan of run differential but I must say I love when the Cards pile on and pad the stat.

    • Old Gator - Jun 14, 2013 at 11:34 PM

      Yeah, I thought the Iron Giant was hamming it up a little too.

  3. beebopthearcher - Jun 15, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    What’s shocking are the number of Cardinals players that have been great beyond any reasonable expectation. I mean, we all knew Wainwright was great, we all knew Molina was a stud with the bat last year…but Matt Carpenter posting a 146 OPS+ and leading all 2nd basemen in WAR? Shelby Miller not just having a fine rookie season, but posting a 2.21 ERA and striking out 10 batters per nine innings. Edward Mujica doing his best impression of late-80s Dennis Eckersly? This is the stuff I didn’t see coming.

    • blues1988 - Jun 15, 2013 at 9:37 AM

      don’t forget about trevor rosenthal, another young hard throwing rookie who hasn’t let up a run since april 24th. that’s as lock down of an 8th inning man as you can have. he just looks better and better every time he comes to the mound.

      • blues1988 - Jun 15, 2013 at 9:38 AM

        an earned run**

  4. janessa31888 - Jun 15, 2013 at 7:13 AM

    Who worked a miracle with Mujica? He was horrible when he was with the Indians. Much respect.
    I envy you your starting pitching. Mediocrity is driving me crazy here.

    • Old Gator - Jun 15, 2013 at 9:56 AM

      He wasn’t exactly the second coming of Mariano Rivera when he peetched for the Feesh either. With the possible exception of Colby Rasmus, working for a sleek, well-oiled, confident organization before consistently large numbers of knowledgeable, loyal, enthusiastic fans can make a huge difference in a player’s outlook.

  5. thomas844 - Jun 15, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    The Cardinals are indeed baseball’s best team. There isn’t an argument there. I just wonder how long their starting pitchers can keep up this ridiculous pace. They got some great competition within their division, too. This may be the year where, for the first time, three teams from the same division are all in the playoffs.

  6. psunick - Jun 15, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    But, how can they possibly be doing so well? Their best hitter doesn’t bat second…their closer throws only one inning…

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