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Cardinal fans cringed with every swing Carlos Beltran took in the home run derby.
Lance Berkman's recent return gave the St. Louis Cardinals a luxury they have not enjoyed much this season: a full, healthy lineup.
All of the Redbird bats are back in business. It showed, as the Cardinals ripped their north-side rivals 23-1 in a three-game sweep.
But the current health is not guaranteed to last long. Berkman, Jon Jay and Allen Craig are all still fragile after recovering from injuries earlier this season. David Freese has a checkered injury history of his own. Carlos Beltran's knee looks ready to go at a moment's notice.
On the mound, Lance Lynn has never thrown more than 164 innings in a single season. He has already logged 110 frames this year. Keeping his arm fresh for the stretch run is vital to St. Louis' pitching staff.
The Cardinals remain optimistic about Jaime Garcia's likely return in mid-August, but no one can know for sure how he will perform if he does indeed make it back.
This currently stacked house of power cards could easily fold with a few key injuries.
Mike Matheny has done well in following Tony La Russa's model of regularly resting his regulars. It may draw some fan grumbling when a depleted lineup loses to a division rival right before a scheduled off day. But the dog days of August are fast approaching, so squeezing in some down time for many of these brittle stars is important.
Health comes with luck as a large factor, but St. Louis needs to do everything it can control to avoid serious injuries.