Last Monday the St. Louis Cardinals suffered one of the worst injuries a team can go through during the course of a season when Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright stumbled out of the batters during a game in Milwaukee, tearing his Achilles and abruptly ending his season.
In a competitive division like the National League Central, that injury could’ve spelled disaster for St. Louis.
Just remember last year when Yadier Molina missed a majority of the backstretch of the season due to a thumb injury he suffered last July. The Cardinals dipped in the standings and couldn’t keep momentum during his absence from the lineup.
The difference between this year and last is Molina returned last season, and the Red Birds went on to win the division by two games.
Wainwright won’t be returning this year.
But, seemingly as only the best teams in sports can, this year, at least so far, the Cardinals haven’t missed a beat since Wainwright went down. St. Louis has won six games in a row and sits atop of the NL Central with the best record in baseball at 18-6.
Mike Matheny will continued to be tested, though, as the Cardinals announced Sunday that their setup man, Jordan Walden, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list due to an inflamed right biceps. They will call up two minor league pitchers from their Triple-A affiliate in Memphis.
However, with a 4.5-game lead on the division St. Louis does have some wiggle room to figure out what it’s going to do at least for now with two important arms missing from the rotation and bullpen.
The Cardinals can improve on their lead over the rest of the NL Central as they start a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs today.