Redbirds about to be tested

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After stumbling in June, they went 7-3 in their last 10 games leading up to the All-Star break. They’re 4-1 since, and there’s a chance to sweep the Phils tonight, although Lance (One Bad Inning) Lynn is on the hill, so we’ll see. The pitching staff (again, let’s see how Lynn fares tonight) has, at least for the moment, regained its form. Offense has revived, as well, and Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz has an appreciative analysis of how good the offense has been with runners in scoring position, and how they haven’t had to rely on home runs (yay!) to win. He also mentions an amazing stat for the pitching staff – they’ve allowed only .64 homers to the opposition per game so far. Only one team in the last 20 seasons – the 2011 Giants – has a better record.

So, there are reasons to be optimistic. On the other side, Carlos Beltran is slumping; Matt Holliday’s hurt; John Jay still has to produce; and people – especially Yadi – need to keep healthy. Lots of “ifs,” but encouraging signs abound.

Which is good; because we’re about to get the real test over the next 15 games. After tonight, the team goes to Atlanta, who leads the NL East, even if they’re in a bit of a slump right now. Then five BIG games against the Pirates, followed by three against the Reds and four (at home) against the white-hot Dodgers, who’ve just won 6 in a row.

Later,

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