Cardinals-Tigers: The Redbirds Are Finally Starting To Take Flight

Brian McDowellCorrespondent IJune 17, 2009

PHOENIX - APRIL 15:  Catcher Yadier Molina #4 of the St. Louis Cardinals in action during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 15, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Diamondbacks 12-7.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Am I dreaming?

Was I hit by a tornado and unknowingly propelled into some parallel universe? Or have the St. Louis Cardinals really gotten this much better the last couple of games?

I know that, at this point in the season, turning around a stagnant offense and tepid pitching staff seems unlikely. But the Cards seem to be doing just that. Tonight, on a humid night in Busch Stadium, with their worst starting pitcher on the mound, they carved out an impressive 4-3 win against the Detroit Tigers.

Todd Wellemeyer's pitching style usually manages to fall somewhere between awkward and spastic. Watching him pitch is like watching David Byrne dance. In this game, he was as sloppy as ever,  giving up two home runs to Curtis Granderson.

Yet, with some solid fielding, the damage that he did was minimal, and, for once, the Cardinals' skills with the bat were enough to keep them ahead.

More surprising, Albert Pujols wasn't an offensive factor in the game. Instead, the team was propelled by both Rookie of the Year front-runner,  Colby Rasmus (3-for-4 with two RBIs), and catcher Yadier Molina (3-for-4 with a home run), who seems to be earning his status as a starter of the All Star Game the last couple of days. Ryan Ludwick also had a rare nice moment, drawing a walk with the bases loaded.

The Cardinals bullpen didn't do as bad as it usually does, and Ryan Franklin performed very admirably to get a well-deserved save.

The impressive win tonight puts the Cardinals within a game of the Brewers in the National League Central. If their success in this series isn't just some amazing fluke, they could very well be leading it soon.