Let's face it, where would the Cardinals be without their starting rotation?
Through today, the Cardinals starters have posted a 2.11 ERA, nearly a run lower than the next closest team, the Cincinnati Reds (3.07 ERA).
This was more than enough to offset the worst bullpen in the league and give the Cards the top team ERA in the majors.
This is a surprising turnaround from what was a bit of a concern during Spring Training. After the loss of Chris Carpenter for the season, the Cards had a scare with Shelby Miller, who experienced shoulder tightness early in the Spring. There were also concerns about how Jaime Garcia would fare after shoulder issues last year, as well as how Lance Lynn would adjust to his new weight.
Overall though, none of these issues have carried over into the regular season. All 5 of the Cardinals starters have ERA's under 3.00, with Jake Westbrook leading the way with a 0.98 ERA, followed by Adam Wainwright (2.03), Shelby Miller (2.05), Jaime Garcia (2.50) and Lance Lynn (2.75).
The starters have averaged 6 1/2 innings per start, including 2 complete game shutouts (one each by Westbrook and Wainwright) and have a combined 16-6 record (through today).
You could not ask for a better performance from a starting rotation.
Of course, Cardinals fans everywhere grumble at the thought of what might of been. Of the Cardinals 11 losses, 4 were games in which the Cards held the lead going into the 8th inning.
Win 2 of those 4 games and the Cardinals record jumps from 16-11 to 18-9, putting them 2.5 games up on the Pirates.
The concern is that the Cardinals rotation is unlikely to keep this up. At some point they are going to come back to earth a bit and hopefully by that time, the Cards will have their bullpen issues sorted out.