St. Louis Cardinals:
The St. Louis Cardinals have shot out of the gate this season, producing a solid 47-36 winning record to put them in 2nd place in the Central division and National League overall, dead-set in the race for playoff contention. Their offense is sparked by the batting skills of first-baseman Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick. Pujols is a 6-time All-Star, 3-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and 2005 National League MVP, who has had a great year thus far with an amazing 17 home runs and 45 RBIs. Ludwick is a rising star, despite still being a relative unknown, who has posted some All-Star figures this season of 16 home runs and a team-leading 56 RBIs. At the mound on defense, it is Todd Wellemeyer who leads the way with his team-leading 68 strikeouts in only 88 innings pitched making him May 2008's NL Pitcher of the Month. The St. Louis Cardinals look to take their great start into the rest of the season towards a spot in the playoffs and a chance at winning another pennant and World Series Championship. Tickets are selling fast as the Cardinals look to go all the way this year.
The St. Louis Cardinals have a long storied
history in the heartland of the US. The franchise has won 15
pennants and has nine World Series victories. One of the most
memorable Cardinals moments came in game five of the 1985 NLCS
against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Wizard of Oz, Ozzie Smith
came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth against pitcher Tom
Niedenfuer and, from the left side of the plate, hit a home run
to end the game. The most amazing part of this was that Smith
had never hit a round tripper from the left side for his entire
career (3,009 AB) and his first couldn’t have come at a
more opportune time. Last season the Cardinals pushed for a postseason
birth, but fell three games short of the division champion Chicago
In the off-season the Cardinals looked to get that player that would push them
over the hump and into the playoffs. They picked up free agents Jeff Suppan and
Reggie Sanders. Management also traded oft-injured J.D. Drew and utility man
Eli Marrero to the Atlanta Braves for pitchers Jason Marquis and Ray King. With
these moves they filled the needs of a reliable right fielder and starting pitching.
The Cardinals are one of the scarier lineups in the
league for opposing pitchers. In the 1-2 spots are second baseman
Tony Womack and left fielder Ray Lankford. In the 3-4-5 spots
are NL MVP runner up Albert Pujols, all star center fielder
Jim Edmonds and slugging third baseman Scott Rolen. The trio accounted for 110
of the Cardinals home runs last season. Behind them are short stop Edgar Renteria,
Sanders, and veteran catcher Mike Matheny. In 2003, the Cardinals were 2nd in
runs scored and 3rd in home runs in the NL.
The Cardinals pitching staff hasn’t been the catalyst they have hoped it
would be. Last season the team finished 11th in ERA and 13th in hits allowed
in the NL. The team made a few moves to help out the staff. The starting rotation
consists of Matt Morris (11-8, 3.76 ERA), Woody Williams (18-9, 3.87 ERA), Jason
Marquis (0-0, 5.53 ERA), Jeff Suppan (10-7, 3.57 ERA), and Chris Carpenter (4-5,
5.28 ERA). The bullpen will be manned by LHP Steve Kline, LHP Ray King, RHP Julian
Tavarez, and right hander closer Jason Isringhausen. Isringhausen has converted
63 of 73 save opportunities since joining the team in 2002.
Busch Stadium plays host to all of the St. Louis
Cardinals home games. This 50,000 seat stadium has been the
Cardinals home field since May 12, 1966 and has had 5 World
Series played in it. The Cardinals averaged 35,930 fans every
game giving them the 7th highest home attendance in the major
league. Sadly this will be the last season Busch Stadium
will host Cardinals games. Next year the Cards will move
into their new state of the art stadium which remains to
be unnamed. Busch Stadium was ranked 18th out of 30 by a
Page 2 column on espn.com.
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