The Cardinals Pick Up Right Where They Left Off

Kyle MeadowsCorrespondent IJuly 19, 2008

The Cardinals have picked up right where they left off since before the All-Star break.  They have won their first two games to start the second half after winning the series in Pittsburgh to end the first half. 

The Cards now find themselves just 3 games back of the division leading Cubs after their loss last night to Houston.  The Cards got a great start from Kyle Lohse in the first game back but was not treated to the same performance from Braden Looper last night. 

The offense however was there to put up 11 runs against the Padres to get the win.  By scoring 43 runs in just the last 5 games it helps take some pressure off the pitching and that is exactly what has happened.  The bullpen only allowed 2 earned runs over 9 innings in the last 2 games.  More good news is that the bullpen will also be getting a much needed lefty, Randy Flores is set to return as he was activated from the disabled list.

Looking at the next two games, the Cardinals hope that Wellemeyer can just pretend that July is another May for him because he was named the NL pitcher for that month.  The Cards are also looking to keep the runs coming combined with a rejuvenated bullpen to gain more ground on the Cubs' lead in the division. 

The second half looks promising and should be nothing short of one of the best divisional races in years.