5 Things We've Learned About the St. Louis Cardinals Through the First 22 Games
As the first month of the regular season draws to a close, the St. Louis Cardinals are beginning to form an identity for 2014. The reigning National League champions are loaded with talent both at the plate and in the field.
As the Cardinals sit four games behind Central Division-leading Milwaukee, they’re looking to end a season-long 11-game road trip on a positive note. One must realize how green the season is. It would be premature to judge this first month, but not to dissect a handful of things that stand out.
Adam Wainwright Continues to Dominate
There’s a reason why Adam Wainwright is the ace of the Cardinals’ pitching staff. He’s a two-time Gold Glover, and a two-time All-Star. In nine years of major league service, Wainwright is 103-58, ranking him 10th on the all-time wins list in franchise history.
Wainwright is off to another brilliant start to 2014. In five starts, the right-hander is 4-1, with a 1.46 ERA. He’s thrown 37 innings, second in the NL to Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto (39). Wainwright has allowed just six earned runs on the season, and he's in a two-way for the team lead in strikeouts with 35. Oh, and he’s holding opponents to a microscopic .165 batting average.
Lance Lynn Flawless in April
Lance Lynn, vying for his fifth win of the season Thursday against the New York Mets, continues to build on an impressive start.
Over his three years as a starter, Lynn is a perfect 12-0 in the month of April.
In the Cardinals’ 4-3 win over the Washington Nationals on April 19, Lynn allowed one run over 5.2 innings while fanning five.
Yadier Molina Continues to Power Offense
Early in his career, Yadier Molina was known for his outstanding defense. Now, Molina is a lethal threat at the plate. He’s provided tremendous power over the last few years, and continues to have success in the early stages of the 2014 season.
Molina’s .367 average ranks fifth in the National League, while his 29 hits places him third. The 31-year-old has hit three home runs and six doubles to go along with his 11 RBI thus far.
Jhonny Peralta Is Living Up to Big Contract
Despite serving a 50-game suspension for his connection to performance enhancing drugs, Jhonny Peralta signed a four-year, $53-million contract with the Cardinals last winter.
So far, so good for Peralta, who has blasted four home runs and driven in eight.
Even though Peralta is hitting just .151, he provides a steady bat in the lineup for manager Mike Matheny, something the Cardinals haven’t had from the shortstop position in quite some time.
Matt Adams Continues to Produce at the Plate
After a rookie season that saw him hit .284 with 17 home runs and 51 RBI, Matt Adams is seeing the ball well in the early going this season.
Prior to Thursday's game at the New York Mets, Adams trails Molina for the team lead in batting average among everyday starters at .342. He’s only hit one home run thus far, but Adams has already collected 27 hits, sixth-most in the NL.