St. Louis Cardinals 2009 Season Preview

Bare KnucksAnalyst IMarch 25, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 8: Jim Edmonds #15 of the St. Louis Cardinals congratulates teammate Albert Pujols #5 after Pujols knocked in three runs against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium July 29, 2007 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals beat the Brewers 9-5.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

St. Louis Cardinals 2009 Preview:

The Cardinals lost Braden Looper, Jason Isringhausen, Cesar Izturis, Felipe Lopez and Aaron Miles during the offseason, and picked up SS Khalil Greene. Neither the additions or subtractions seem to be important enough to hurt this team, or help them for that matter.

The key to this team’s success in 2009 is health. Starting pitching, if healthy, can be a key for this club in 2008. If Chris Carpenter can avoid injuries that limited him to only four games in the last two seasons, he should be able to help provide a lift to the team.

Lohse, Wellemeyer and Adam Wainright were extremely effective in their time with St. Louis last year, and they’ll need to do the same this year to make up for a lack of depth in that area.

Chris Perez will most likely be handed the closing role after the departure of Isringhausen. Perez was 7/10 in save chances last year with a 3.46 ERA. He, along with Ryan Franklin, will look to anchor what is potentially a very shaky bullpen. Ultimately the pitching, whether it be starting or out of the pen, will control the fate of this club’s chances of a postseason birth in 2009.

But aside from the Cubs, who look like a sure thing to win the NL Central, there isn’t much competition for second place in a division that features a lot of young teams. Look for the Cardinals to contend for the Wild Card throughout the 2009 season, but eventually fall short.

St. Louis Cardinals Projected 2009 Record:

2nd place in the NL Central with a record of 87-75.

St. Louis Cardinals Surprise Player of 2009: [Find out here...]