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Things weren't looking great for the Cardinals a few weeks ago, but the baseball season is long and full of ups and downs. Sometimes, you can start on one of those downs, as St. Louis did: they began the 2017 season with a 6-10 record over their first 16 games. While they defeated the rival Cubs on opening night, giving St. Louis its first taste of first place since the 2015 season, things quickly fell apart, resulting in the Cardinals falling to last place in the NL Central.
Over their last 15 games, however, the Cards are 11-4. They’ve jumped a half-game ahead of the Reds with a series-opening victory against the Marlins on Monday, and managed all this at the same time the Cubs continue to flounder around .500. It's not that the Cardinals' job is done and they just need to ride out the rest of the season or anything — this is May we're talking about, and we're not even halfway through it — but St. Louis shaking their more significant early struggles before the Cubs have been able to extract themselves from their early season malaise is a small victory.
The NL Central looks pretty intriguing at the moment, as the Reds are in second, the Cubs, despite their issues early, are just a game back, and the Brewers are sitting all of 1.5 games behind the Cardinals while in fourth place. You could see the Reds slowing down given they are rebuilding, and not even in a Yankees-esque fashion, or the Brewers falling behind further as they are close, but not quite there, but even if that were to happen, it's looking like Cardinals vs. Cubs will actually be a race again in 2017. And with the Cubs now defending World Series champs, that means something different than it used to for both organizations.
- The A's had themselves a weekend, with consecutive walk-off victories, and they kept it going on Monday. Jed Lowrie's second homer of the day gave Oakland their third walk-off win in a row.
- The Giants are struggling to the point they're even behind the Padres in the NL West standings, but no matter how bad things get, Grant Brisbee says they'll never rebuild.
- Meanwhile, the Giants just lost their fourth game in a row and are somehow 4-3 in games where they go deep twice.
- We have our metaphor for how the Rangers' season is going, and it's Kyle Seager hitting one of their fans in the beans with a game-winning homer.
- When Matt Harvey didn't show up on Saturday (for a situation he thought he got permission to be excused from), it turns out the Mets sent security to check up on him and found the pitcher in his pajamas.
- The Mets aren't out of the race yet, far from it, but it's getting harder to believe with everything that's going wrong.
- Joe Posnanski spoke to Greg Maddux about part of his legacy: the Maddux.
- Those David Robertson to the Nationals rumors are still going.
- The Red Sox should be getting both Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg back soon, and then we'll see the bullpen they planned on having.
- Good habits can spread among hitters, like with Daniel Murphy to Ryan Zimmerman, but Russell Carleton is wondering if this works with bad habits, too.
- Pirates' pitcher Jameson Taillon underwent surgery for suspected testicular cancer.