A Good Start, But…
It's too soon to get excited.
I’ve enjoyed the last week of Cardinal baseball as much as anyone. The 2012 Cardinals have put four of the first five games in the win column. The starting pitching is solid and the hitters are having solid at bats and getting good results. Nice start, but we’re barely out of the starting gate.
Can the Cardinals maintain this? Yes, especially if they stay healthy. Injuries have a way of interfering. Remember ’06? The Cards started well. For two months they looked like the ’04 and ’05 Cardinal teams that dominated the National League. A series of injuries hampered the ’06 Cardinals until post season baseball began. The “real” Cardinals got healthy again and brought St. Louis a 10th World’s Championship. Two injuries are part of the story line for the ’12 Cardinals. Chris Carpenter is on the shelf for the time being. Allen Craig is on the way back after some problems last season with his knee. Craig should be back before long. No one knows how long Carp is out.
Some Cardinal fans who remember the 60’s and 80’s are fearful of a World Series Hangover of sorts. You can argue that the hangover effect hit in ’07 as well. I don’t see the factors this year that led to the events of 1965, 1969, 1983, 1986 and 2007. In ’65 and ’69 actions of the owner undermined the ballclub. There were several holdouts from spring training in ’69 and that contributed to a slow start that probably kept the Cards from joining the Mets in their legendary sprint past the Cubs of ’69. Whitey Herzog’s two books detail some of the off field problems with the ’83 Cardinals. Court records from some drug trials in Pittsburgh late in 1985 shed additional light. The '86 Cards were hurt by loss of Joaquin Andujar and a series of injuries. The ’07 Cardinals were an aging team and the injury bug took them out of the race in mid September.
None of those factors are present with the ’12 Cardinals. There is no owner induced drama, no known off field issues and the closest guys to the end of the line are Berkman and Beltran and they appear to be in pretty good condition.