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The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
  • State of the Union: Cardinals, Royals

  • Both teams - the Cardinals and Royals - are on opposite an opposite spectrum thus far in 2013.
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  • St. Louis Cardinals
    Expecting the best record in baseball isn't natural, unless we're talking about St. Louis Cardinals' players and fans. At 42-23, the Red Birds have had exactly that, basically since the season began.
    Even after Wednesday's 5-1 loss at the hands of the New York Mets, it's easy to see exactly why St. Louis is atop MLB Power Rankings again this week.
    Catcher Yadier Molina leads the National League with a .358 batting average and is the heart and soul of the team. But also take into account the Cards' league-highs – a .275 team batting average and 327 total runs.
    Their lineup, laced with potential All-Stars, features four batters with at least a .300 average, but that's not as impressive as the team's .336 on-base percentage.
    The one reason St. Louis is atop the baseball world, however, is the team's ability to overcome adversity.
    Four starting pitchers have been assigned to the disabled list, but several young-gunners have fulfilled the team's expectations.
    Michael Wacha, who was called up last week, earned his first Major League win Tuesday. Tyler Lyons is in his first season as a Cardinal, and has fared well with a 2-2 record and an ERA below 4.00. Shelby Miller, who is in his second season, has a career record of 8-4 and holds a 2.21 ERA, averaging 10 strikeouts per nine innings.
    Team these youngsters with the reliable Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn, who combine for a 17-4 record in 2013, and St. Louis will continue to rip through opponents.
    The Cardinals are scheduled to travel to Miami in a three-game series before a seven-game homestand with the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers.
    Kansas City Royals
    If a team could buy hits on credit, the Royals would owe a fortune.
    When the team needs hits most, the lineup hasn't delivered often.
    But, since Hall of Famer George Brett took over as the team's hitting coach 14 games ago, he may have brought his winning ways.
    The Royals are 7-1 in their last eight games and have climbed to within three games of .500 (30-33) and are only 5.5 games back from the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers.
    During the streak, however, hitting woes have continued. Kansas City has scored five or more runs only twice during the streak, and the team only had three extra-base hits during the streak until Lorenzo Cain's game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth on Wednesday.
    But, on the opposite side of the ball, Royals pitchers have the best ERA in the AL at 3.45, largely due to stellar starting pitching led by James Shields (2-6, 2.79 ERA) and Ervin Santana (4-5, 2.99 ERA), who both have poor records because of lacking run support.
    Page 2 of 2 - In the last seven days, Kansas City has a league-best 1.48 team ERA, and is also tied for the most saves during the success party (4).
    If or when the hits start coming, the Royals can win.
    The team will travel to Tampa Bay for a four-game series before heading to Cleveland to cap a seven-game road schedule.
    A subsequent return home will feature a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox on June 21.

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