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Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

10 positive notes from the month of May

Posted Friday, June 1, 2012, at 8:45 AM

By COREY NOLES

Yes. I said positive things. Thursday my column dredged up all that is wrong with the Cardinals. Today I'm here to talk about what is right.

I won't lie, though. This list took me a while to put together.

1.Lance Lynn -- Lynn continues to show his resilience and is still putting together wins. As ESPN reported this week, he is in elite Cardinals company as one of only three Cardinals pitchers to go 8-1 in their first year as a starter. The other two? Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton. Keep it up.
2.Offense good despite pitching -- In several of the May losses, including the two against Atlanta this week, the Cardinals offense has still managed to scrape together some runs. Under normal circumstances, seven or eight runs scored will win you games. Sadly, these weren't normal circumstances.
3.Yadi! Yadi! Yadi! -- The Cardinals much-loved backstop put up big numbers in May in moments when it mattered. Monday night in Atlanta he put up 3 RBIs and a homerun in a nice 4-for-4 outing. He is on pace for a career best offensive year.
4.Chance to see Matt Adams -- Much to the surprise of most, Cardinals fans got a chance to see Matt Adams about a year earlier than anticipated. Of course, it came at the cost of Lance Berkman, but I'm trying to be positive here. He's hitting .317 over 11 games (13-for-41). That's pretty good all things considered. He has some room to grow, but he's still fun to watch. He will be fine.
5.Adam Wainwright returned to baseball -- Welcome back, Waino. Cardinals fans missed you in April (and early May). All along we have had glimpses of the real Wainwright, but for two consecutive starts we have seen him up close and personal. The importance of this point cannot be overstated right now.
6.Allen Craig -- He came back and then left again, but now he's back once more. With any luck, this time he will get to play more than 13 games. It would also be handy if he could pick up where he left off. Craig's return could be a huge shot in the arm to this team.
7.Berkman's ACL is fine -- Despite early reports (and Berkman's own opinion), Puma's ACL was fine. He's still out for a minimum seven more weeks, but that means there is a chance he'll be back.
8.Victor Marte and Mitchell Boggs -- These two, while not perfect, have been the shining stars of the bullpen. To put it simply, they are the two that don't make me shake when they walk to the mound. Whatever changes Boggs has made have worked out well for him. If he can remain consistent, he will be a crucial part of the bullpen. So far, he's been a really good eighth inning guy.
9.We don't see the Braves again in 2012...unless -- we see them in the playoffs. Judging by the way the regular season meetings have gone, it would be preferable to not see them again. Ever.
10. June's schedule is less daunting -- It's far from being a pushover, but the June schedule is much more "struggle-friendly" than May. Once we get past the Mets, we get to face teams like Houston, Pittsburgh and Kansas City. The Indians and Tigers will make for tough games, but they're the exception and not the rule. Don't let the Tigers bad record fool you because that team is going to come alive soon with a vengeance. With a few tweaks and June's schedule, though, the Cardinals have a chance to come back to life as well.

Despite the dismal performance in May, there are things to be excited about in the future. It's not all doom and gloom. Just remember this -- In 2011 the Cardinals were 10-1/2 games out on Aug. 26. Anything can happen.

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To submit a question for the Balls & Strikes Mailbag, either e-mail cnoles@dailystatesman.com, call (573)624-4545, or fill out the form at dailystatesman.com/blogs/coreynoles/

Follow him on Twitter @coreynoles



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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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