2007 St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Preview
The St. Louis Cardinals (83- 78) under Tony La Russa went all the way last year with pitching that was first exemplary, then in the middle of the season questionable and into October once again exemplary. Proving that timely pitching and not consistently good pitching is a manager’s best friend.
They Cards are back with a good enough to win rotation that includes ace Chris Carpenter (15- 8, 3.09 ERA), second-man Kip Wells (2- 1, 6.10 ERA) from the Pirates and former bullpen man Adam Wainwright (2- 1, 3.12 ERA). Wells is a chance the Cards are willing to take. Closer Jason Isringhausen (4- 8, 3.55 ERA, 33 SV) was injured most of last season and out at the end. He’s back and expects to be 100%, which could translate into 45 or more saves. The bullpen is average, a big part of what Maddux's baseball handicapping looks at.
First baseman Albert Pujols (.331 AVG, 137 RBI, 49 HR) is the best hitter in the game. SS David Eckstein (.292 AVG, 23 RBI, 2 HR) can get on base and Scott Rolen (.296 AVG, 95 RBI, 22 HR) and Pujols can drive him in. Outfielders Chris Duncan (.292 AVG, 43 RBI, 22 HR) and John Rodriguez (.301 AVG, 19 RBI, 2 HR) are solid hitters. There’s not much speed here so the Cards need to rely on the extra base hit.
The team is solid in the field with a good infield that’s capable of turning the double play (170 last season—fourth in NL). All around, this is one of the best defenses in the league. The Cards had a .984 FP (fifth best in the NL).
Tony La Russa is Tony La Russa—enough said. You can bet on him to win a certain number of games.
The club lost two talented right-handed pitchers—Jeff Suppan and Jason Marquis, and it’s surprising that St. Louis didn’t bring one of them back. The rotation is questionable as is the bullpen. Hitting does not a World Champion make.
For more info on St. Louis check out the MLB website for the Cardinals.