All Star Break
1. Nine games over .500 at the break, and only a half game from the Wild Card-leading Cardinals.
2. Front office brass willing to trade away vital parts of the future in an all out attempt to not only make the playoffs, but in my mind, make a push for the World Series with the addition of CC Sabathia and whatever else might be added in the next couple weeks.
3. The team defense appears to the naked eye to be much improved from last year thanks to Braun showing he can handle LF and just as importantly, Kendall behind the plate. Both have more than lived up to defensive expectations. In fact, they've surpassed them.
4. Bench play has proven to be very resourceful. When I say resourceful, I really mean gritty. Nobody expected Kapler to contribute as he has so far considering he was coaching a year ago. All he does is come up with the big play when he's called upon. Counsell has served well as a defensive replacement and made clutch & gritty AB's. Even the little used Mike Rivera has performed well at the plate in his limited duty.
5. Even Ned Yost seems to have made less head-scratching decisions than at this point last year. Granted, it's easy to second guess him when a move backfires, but I feel as if he's been able to really get a better handle on this year's pitching staff.