Some people hate Cardinals days off, but I enjoy having a break from the day-to-day intensity every once in a while — a time to stop and look at how things are going.
And I would have enjoyed yesterday a lot more had the Cubs actually been able to keep Brandon Phillips off base last night — but, then again, they’re the Cubs. What can we really expect?
Speaking of expectations, I can’t imagine any of you could have expected what’s transpired thus far for the 2013 Cardinals. Sure, we all thought they’d do well — but this well? With this many pitching injuries and kids coming up Memphis and Springfield and jumping right in and having such success?
As for “doing this well,” Sunday’s win was the 41st of the season. Last year on June 9, they weren’t anywhere close to winning their 41st game — they were 31-29 (and would lose the next two to put them at .500) in third place in the NL Central, three games behind the Reds. Going back to 2000 (my first year as a Cards fan), they have never had 41 wins this early in the season.
The closest: 2005 and, surprisingly, 2008, when the Cardinals won their 41st game on June 14 both seasons.
By contrast, in 2007 they won their 41st game on July 15.
As for other seasons since 2000 in which they’ve been in first place on June 11, there are five: 2011, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2000. The only year in which they didn’t finish atop the division, of course, was 2011.
Some numbers: Given the offensive production lately, probably not a surprise that the Cards lead the NL at the moment with a .276 average and .338 on-base percentage. Pitching-wise, they lead the majors with an overall ERA of 3.19 and starters ERA of 2.73.
Individually, Yadier Molina leads the National League in batting average at .354. Troy Tulowitzi is second at .351, Jean Segura is third at .339 and Matt Carpenter and Marco Scutaro are tied for fourth at .332.
Carpenter also is tied for second in the NL in hits with 80 and Yadi is right behind him with 79. Allen Craig has 74. Of those hits, Yadi has 56 singles (tied for fourth), Carpenter has 55 and Craig has 52. Yadi and Matt are tied for the second in the NL for doubles with 19 each.
Adam Wainwright is tied with Patrick Corbin and Jordan Zimmermann for the most wins in the NL with 9 each, while Lance Lynn is right behind them at 8 and Shelby Miller has 7. Waino is tied with Zimmermann for most complete games, 3, and leads in shutouts with 2. Shelby and Jake Westbrook each have 1.
Shelby still has the second-best ERA in the National League, 1.91, behind Clayton Kershaw in first at 1.88. Waino is sixth at 2.34.
Edward Mujica is second in saves with 18.
Back to that starters ERA above, it comes from 9 different pitchers. Of the 9, Joe Kelly in his one game as a starter has the lowest ERA at 1.59. Michael Wacha has the highest, 5.40.
There have been 13 relievers used by the Cards this season and they have a combined 4.33 ERA. The lowest is 0.00 for Kevin Siegrist through his 3.1 innings pitched in 3 games. The highest, not surprisingly, is Maikel Cleto at 19.29. Mitchell Boggs is second highest at 11.05 and Marc Rzepczynski behind that at 7.88. Do you think either Boggs or Rzep will ever be back in St. Louis? (Honest question.)
And, one bit of total randomness, Michael Wacha is the youngest Cardinal on the active roster at 21. Carlos Beltran is the oldest at 36.
Wacha takes the mound at Citi Field tonight for his third major league start, facing Jeremy Hefner of the Mets. Here’s to lowering that ERA and getting his first big-league win — along with a continuation of all the hitting streaks. Game time is 6:10 p.m. Central.
Christine Coleman is the lead St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.