Cards' starters paving the way for success

Cards' starters paving the way for success

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals entered Sunday as the only Major League team yet to have a win credited to their bullpen this season. That is obviously a reflection of an unstable bullpen, but it's also a testament to the continued strong starting pitching, which has routinely been good enough to put the Cardinals ahead early in games.

Through the first 23 games of 2013, the five-man rotation has posted a 2.08 ERA. That's the lowest in the Majors -- by nearly a run. Three of the team's starters -- Jake Westbrook (0.98), Shelby Miller (1.44), Adam Wainwright (1.93) -- entered Sunday with ERAs that ranked in the National League's top 10 among starters. Westbrook's was the lowest.

"They're using their strengths well," manager Mike Matheny said. "We have guys pitching different styles, and I think that mixes it up pretty well on what kind of look the opponent is going to get each night."

With three games remaining this month, the Cardinals still have a chance to set a franchise record for starting-pitching wins in April if they can reel off three straight, beginning on Sunday. The staff has 14 wins, two shy of the April wins by Cardinals' starters in 2000.

The starters are averaging an NL-best 6.4 innings per start, yet have still allowed an NL-low five homers.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.