Cardinals at the 3/4 mark of the season

My previous post on the Cardinals delved into my discomfort with the strong, visible culture of conservative evangelical Christianity (and some of the attendant politics) on the Redbirds’ team. Tonight I just want to riff a bit on the Cards, who continue to have the #1 ESPN Power Ranking for the 13th consecutive week, and who continue to have the best record in the MLB by quite a wide margin. As of their victory tonight over the Diamondbacks, they’re 81-45, with a .643 winning percentage. To put that in perspective, if they finished the season with that winning percentage, their record would be 104 – 58.

So, the thing is, they’re a team without a superstar, and in many ways they look like a team that may just be over-performing, which certainly happens some years to every team. All season long, their hitting has been anywhere from anemic to average, and their pitching – both starting and relief – has been incredibly stingy with runs allowed. They’ve allowed 374 runs over 126 games, tops in MLB. The next best team, the Pirates, have allowed 453, and there are several contending teams bunched up in the 450s after the Buccos. That’s an unusually big gap between #1 and #2 on a team stat like that. Looking at Team ERA we see the same separation:

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