BenFred: Cardinals handling next-man-up better than some of their NL competition

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St. Louis Cardinals’ Tommy Edman and Harrison Bader collide after Edman caught a ball hit by Milwaukee Brewers’ Travis Shaw during the fourth inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Morry Gash

Ben Frederickson

Let’s update a list the Cardinals keep giving us reasons to overlook.

The combination of shoulder trouble for Miles Mikolas, who is still out but nearing his return, and a tight side for Kwang Hyun Kim at spring training meant reliever-turned-starter John Gant went from the bullpen to the rotation. Five of his seven starts have gone at least five innings. None of his starts have included more than three earned runs allowed. His walks are too high, sure, but his ERA reads 1.83. That’s pretty good, no?

Starting outfielders Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neill did not start a game together this season until April 30. The Cardinals are 10-3 since then, but they weren’t buried without the duo while getting by with alternatives who have since settled into bench roles. They were 13-12 and in second place in the National League Central when Bader (elbow) hopped off the injured list to join O’Neill (groin).

Catcher and captain Yadier Molina, swinging a scorching hot bat, missed 11 games due to tendon strain in his right foot. The Cardinals went 8-3 while he rushed back.

That list of Cardinals bumps and bruises just keeps going.

Yet so do the…

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