Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 7/1/13
ST. LOUIS -- Through the team's first 81 games, at least five Cardinals are on a pace to finish 2013 with some eye-popping numbers. The odds of maintaining these paces, however, are a reflection of the length of the season. That is, the longer the season goes, the longer the odds become. Sizing up their chances: Yadier Molina: On pace for 200 hits. The weather and the schedule have allowed Molina to play in all but four games so far. Though he figures to be rested more after the All-Star break, you have to think he still will wear down a little. He could draw inspiration from a fellow Puerto Rican catcher, though. When Ivan Rodriguez set the single-season record for hits (198) by a catcher, he collected 110 in his final 68 games. As much as Molina's offense has improved, it's difficult to believe that Molina can hit .350 for an entire season. Prediction: Molina will finish closer to 180 hits than 200 but that still will be plenty to warrant his first MVP. Adam Wainwright: On pace for 22 wins, 251 13 innings and eight complete games. For his career, Wainwright has gotten stronger as the season wears on. He owns a 3.16 ERA in the first half, 2.88 in the second. He's also pitching as well, if not better, than ever. Prediction: Mike Matheny won't let his ace finish four more games, which also will diminish Wainwright's chances of topping 250 innings. But considering he could should, in fact --- have at least two more wins, 22 wins is very reachable. Matt Carpenter: On pace for 200 hits and 120 runs. Since this is Carpenter's first season as an everyday player in the big leagues, we don't have history to consider. About all we have is Carpenter's impressive discipline and refusal to take off any at-bat. Prediction: If he plays as much in the second half as he did in the first half, when he missed only four games, Carpenter will make a run at both the hits and the runs but fall short. But there's nothing wrong with 190 hits and 110 runs. Allen Craig: On pace for 126 RBIs. When talking with former Cardinals catcher Tom Pagnozzi recently, he was so taken with Craig's ability to hit with runners in scoring position that he wondered, half-jokingly, if Craig gets bored when hitting with no one on. I'm not sure about that but I am pretty sure Craig is among the game's best run producers. One reason: He isn't about pulling everything. With a runner on second, many hitters get pull happy but Craig happily will take an outside pitch to right field if it means an RBI. Prediction: Craig drove in 92 runs last season while playing in only 119 games. He's on a pace to play in 35 more games this season. That would put him at 154 games which, based on four at-bats per game, would put him at 121 RBIs if he continued his rate of driving in a run every 4.8 at-bats. Matt Holliday: On pace to ground into 40 double plays. As Holliday has learned, hitting the ball as hard as anyone in baseball has its drawbacks. He is on pace to break Jim Rice's record of 36 GIDP, set in 1984. Prediction: If he stays in the 5-hole, his chances of grounding into another 20 double plays fall from probably not to no way. Why's that? The cleanup hitter, Craig, has a habit of keeping the bases clear. You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at stanmcneal@gmail.com.
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