The St. Louis Cardinals, picked to finish fourth or fifth in the NL Central by most people who do predictions, share the Majors' best record with Arizona at 10-4. They have begun the season by winning their first three series and splitting a four-game set with the Giants. Tony La Russa is is always talking about just trying to win series, because if you consistently take 2-of-3 you're going to finish the seaosn with a whole lot of wins. The Cards are doing just that so far this year, winning games behind their surprising--nay, shocking--starting pitching rotation. Guys like Todd Wellemeyer, Kyle Lohse, and Braden Looper have been beyond solid, and Adam Wainwright really looks like he is developing into the squad's long-term ace. Are we still bitter about the team trading Danny Haren to Oakland? Yes. Does winning without him make us forget him a little at a time? You bet.
Obviously, it's still very possible that all the naysayers will turn out to have been right. It's only April and a lot of teams start off like a house afire only to cool off quickly as the season grinds on. A fifth place finish is still very realistic. But if, somehow, the pitchers can keep producing and a couple of guys named Mulder and Carpenter can come back at full strength at or before mid-season, this may turn out to be a pleasantly surprising summer for the Redbirds.
Either way, for now it's awesome.