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.