Can the St. Louis Cardinals Remain Competitive?

Josh PropeCorrespondent IJune 12, 2008

I believe that baseball fans as a whole can agree with me when I say that Albert Pujols is one of the top hitters in the game today. I also think that Cardinals fans can agree with me when I say that, without Albert, there is a gaping hole in the lineup, both offensively and defensively.

The Cardinals have definitely pulled their weight this season in the NL Central, but that was with the game-to-game contributions of Albert hitting in that oh-so-important No. 3 spot in the lineup.

With Albert sidelined for up to three weeks, the rest of the club is going to have to carry their weight, now more than ever. One of the guys that will pick up some offensive slack is Ryan Ludwick. Ryan is having a career season, batting .321 with 52 RBI and 16 HR.

Other Cardinals that are going to have to step it up are Troy Glaus, Skip Schumaker, Rick Ankiel, and Chris Duncan. The Cardinals will undoubtedly have Chris Duncan play first base with Pujols sidelined, while outfielders like Barton will get more playing time.

If the Cardinals' pitching staff can stay hot, and other players step up in the lineup, I'm sure that the Cardinals will pull through the Pujols injury and stay in the race for the NL Central.