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How long can Cardinals keep winning?

The St. Louis Cardinals managed to win again Monday night in Arizona against the Diamondbacks.

But the club is showing signs of strain all over the roster as it eagerly awaits the return of several injured players.

Starting pitched Lance Lynn pitched well enough to get a win. But he surrendered nine hits and three runs in six innings of work -- and it could have been a lot worse if not for several timely double plays.

Lynn has been a much more mature pitcher over the past couple of years, largely putting his volatile temper in check. But last night he screamed toward the outfield and turned beet red after infielder Greg Garcia botched a double play ball.

Garcia, who had a rough night with the glove, played second base in place of starter Kolten Wong who got another day off in the midst of a slump both at the plate and in the field.

Speaking of slumps, Matt Carpenter hit a blast of a home run Monday night. But that was his first hit in 22 at bats. He’s hitting .053 for the week with eight strikeouts and two walks. Over the past two weeks, he’s hitting .200 with two extra-base hits, both home runs.

It’s amazing that the Birds continue to win games with their roster being short of key hitters Matt Adams, Matt Carpenter and Randal Grichuk and their rotation being without ace Adam Wainwright almost all year.

This team has accomplished a lot more than what most people expected, considering the carnage. But the missing pieces must return soon or else I’m afraid this club is going to buckle under the stress.

The Cardinal could do themselves a favor by thinking small.

They’re not going to hit homers and tons of extra-base hits without their absent sluggers. So when they get runners on base they have to be better about moving them up and in with productive outs.

So many times in recent weeks, while they struggled to string together hits, the Redbirds have passed time and time again on opportunities to take a free single thanks to defensive shifts.

When they have such trouble scoring runs, I can’t understand why the Cardinals continue to try to do things the hard way and hit into the teeth of the defense.

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