For the past week and a half, I've been trying to balance the tables for the column I wrote on Travis Wood and the All-Star Game by penning one about the St. Louis Cardinals.
Lest I seem biased, I keep running into the same problem: it's pretty hard to say anything substantially interesting about the Cardinals.
That's not to say I dislike them, they're bad, etc. It's just much easier to write about things that are bad or someone controversial.St. Louis, however, is the closest thing to a treadmill, going at the same speed for hours on end.
Really, as a fan, could you want anything more than a perfect perpetual motion machine?By almost any account, the Cardinals are the best team in baseball this season.
Most wins entering Friday? Check. Fewest losses entering Friday? Check. But the number that really stands out, that really shows how good St. Louis has been is their run differential.
For their 99 games, the Cardinals have outscored their opponents by 142, the only triple digit positive mark in baseball.For good measure, the run differentials of the other first-place teams entering Friday: Boston (+88), Detroit (+99), Oakland (+59), Atlanta (+75) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (+4).
That's true dominance, and a number that generally shows what to expect out a team on any given day. The Cardinals pound the baseball with authority and have a pitching staff that keeps runs off the board better than all but one team in baseball. The team doesn't have any cracks or weaknesses, seemingly.
Even the ones that crop up don't seem to matter much. Chris Carpenter goes down at the beginning of the year, but Shelby Miller comes in and pitches well beyond his years. Jaime Garcia gets hurt, and a combination of Joe Kelly, Michael Wacha, John Gast and Tyler Lyons pick up the slack to form one servicable fifth starter.