Baseball wagering handicappers were becoming frustrated with the Redbirds at the All Star break as they were trailing Cincinnati and losing money as overlays with the baseball odds.
But since returning from the break the Cardinals have lived up to their pre season billing as the team to beat in the National League Central Division as they swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in a four game series before winning the next two games, also at home, against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Redbirds success against two playoff teams from last year has boosted their confidence, as well as the confidence of gamblers.
St. Louis’ problem at the midway point of the season was a lineup that was not producing runs in the same manner as previous seasons. The Cardinals ranked 15th for run production which was causing the efforts of their fine pitching staff to go to waste.
St. Louis ranked 2nd in the big leagues for staff earned run average and had one of the best starting rotations in the game.
The big three of the St. Louis rotation are as impressive as any in the game. Adam Wainwright had a record of 14-5 with an earned run average of 2.02 and with 4 complete games, a rarity in today’s game.
Chris Carpenter was 11-3 with a 3.05 earned run average and Jaime Garcia was 8-4 with a 2.27 earned run average. Wainwright had 130 strikeouts in 142 innings while Carpenter had 118 in 141 innings of work.
Closer has been the one area of concern with MLB gambling handicappers as Ryan Franklin had a high 3.41 earned run average.
The lineup was led by Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols. Holliday was hitting .309 with 17 home runs and 56 runs batted in while Pujols was also hitting .309 with 22 home runs and 67 runs batted in.
Although Pujols’ numbers are good for most players, they are a sharp drop-off from his production of recent years. Pujols has never hit under last year’s .327 and hit 47 home runs last year with 135 runs batted in, numbers that will likely not be reached in 2010.
The Cardinals have at least re-established themselves as the baseball wagering favorite in the NL Central and as a team that can make the World Series.
“We’re playing at a high level,” said manager Tony LaRussa, “We’re doing a lot of good things, but we’re not mistake-proof.”