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The biggest story for the 2013 Cardinals has, without a doubt, been the success of the starting rotation.
Adam Wainwright has taken his helm at the top of the rotation. In the absence of Chris Carpenter, he has stepped out of the background to run this staff.
Wainwright himself leads the league in innings pitched (49.2), BB/9 (0.5) and SO/BB (16.00). In his second season removed from Tommy John surgery, Wainwright is looking to make a statement. So far, he’s done a fine job of it.
Garcia (who we’ve already discussed) is off to a career-best start. As he moves forward, the Cardinals’ lone lefty starter will continue to cement his role with the team and show why he is such a valuable piece to the current rotation.
Lance Lynn, back for his sophomore effort as a starter, looks as good as he did in 2012. He’s continuing to get a handle on his off-speed deliveries as well as his slimmer physique, while at the same time leading the NL in wins (5).
Jake Westbrook, the elder statesman in the Cardinals rotation, didn’t give up a single run until his third start and has only given up one in the two following starts. His 1.07 ERA leads the league and ranks second in all of MLB.
There’s not much more one could ask for from their No. 4 starter—except maybe what they’re getting from their number five man.
Shelby Miller is quickly living up to the high expectations that arrived in St. Louis long before his plane finally touched down.
Miller (4-2), despite his young age and appearance, looks like a veteran on the mound. He has great velocity, location and doesn’t seem easily shaken as some were concerned with early in 2012.
It’s not just about good starts, but about depth. When a team is seeing ace-quality appearances from their fourth and fifth starters, there is little anyone is going to do to stop them.
Eventually, this rotation will begin to show signs of being human, but they could slip some and still be arguably the best starting staff in baseball.
The 2013 Cardinals, likely better than the 2012 team, has what it takes to be playing baseball deep into October.