MLB on Sling TV: Cardinals Still Flying High Despite Injuries

Jul 06, 2015 by Robb Todd


Is there any way to stop the St. Louis Cardinals?

This team has been hit hard by injuries to ace Adam Wainwright and sluggers Matt Adams and Matt Holliday, among many others, and yet here they are nearing the All-Star break with the best record in baseball, 53-28, which is also good for the best record after 81 games since 1944.

The Cardinals play three times this week on Sling TV, twice against the division rival Chicago Cubs. Entering Monday’s games, St. Louis has an 8.5-game lead over Chicago in the N.L. Central.

The Cardinals lost Wainwright after just four starts but the pitching staff is talented and deep, and the bullpen is one of the best in the game. That combination has the team eyeing a chance to have one of the historically great team ERAs, and perhaps be considered in the argument over the greatest pitching staffs ever. But we can wait another 80-plus games to really argue about that, right?

Coaches generally get too much credit and too much blame, but it’s hard not to feel like the men in charge in St. Louis have done a great job overcoming so many hurdles.

“It comes down to pure winning,” Cardinals coach Mike Matheny said during spring training. “There are a lot of things that go into how I evaluate myself and the staff. What kind of injuries and obstacles and distractions do we have to overcome? What else went into it that maybe nobody on the outside knew about?”

For the Cubs, the four-game series with the Cardinals is followed by a matchup with their cross-town rival, the White Sox. If the Cubs take the series against St. Louis, and beat up a little on a down White Sox team, they could reposition themselves well before the All-Star break for a run at the Cardinals’ division lead in the second half. That would also mean that the Cubs might enter the biding for some of the bigger names at the trade deadline.

But that kind of thinking doesn’t work for Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

“What means a lot is Monday’s game,” he said. “I’ll only concede to that. I don’t look in clumps. I look in and try to stay with the daily approach. I know you’re supposed to be more concerned with winning in your division, but I’m more concerned about winning every night. I know I get disagreed with that a lot, but I really want our guys to approach the day like that.”

*All times eastern; some markets subject to blackout.

Monday, July 6
St. Louis at Chicago, 8pm (ESPN)

John Lackey vs Jon Lester

Wednesday, July 8
St. Louis at Chicago, 8pm (ESPN)

Michael Wacha vs Jason Hammel

Sunday, July 12
New York at Boston, 1:35pm (TBS)

Nathan Eovaldi vs Wade Miley

St. Louis at Pittsburgh, 8pm (ESPN)

Tyler Lyons vs Francisco Liriano

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