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Forget everything you think you know about the 2019 St. Louis Cardinals.

Forget about the disappointment of the first half. Forget about the .500 record. The Cardinals will start the second half in playoff contention, and that’s worth getting excited about.

Early in the season, the Cardinals showed that they can be a winning team. They’ve shown the ability to go on a long hot streak. One could easily make the case that they are due for one.

The all-star break came at a great time for the Cardinals. They were scuffling along, trying to find a sorely lacking spark. Sometimes a few days off can be just what the doctor ordered.

The Cardinals still have serious flaws and major question marks, but there’s a competitive roster there. It’s not completely hopeless. Not even close.

I don’t need to rehash all the struggles the Cardinals and their players dealt with in the first half, but that can be water under the bridge with a fast start.

Matt Carpenter’s first half can be forgiven with a 2018-like stretch through the dog days of summer. The pitching staff can be rejuvenated with a trade. Mike Shildt can buck his Matheny-esque reputation with one winning month.

It really is that simple. I’m a big believer in the saying “winning fixes everything.”

After the excitement of the 2011 World Series, it was easy to forget that Cardinals team started September with almost no shot of even making the playoffs. It took a historic collapse by the Braves to give the Cardinals that chance.

The 2006 Cardinals won 83 games and backed into the playoffs after losing the final game of the season.

With a .500 record at the all-star break, there’s no way to predict how the rest of the season will go. The first half isn’t always a reliable predictor of things to come.

While it’s understandable to have some lingering doubts, the second half is worth getting excited about. It’s the second half of a season where the Cardinals are starting in the thick of the action.

That’s not to say things couldn’t go very poorly right away. They could fall flat on their faces straight out of the gate.

I don’t think that’s going to happen. This is a good baseball team. I truly believe that. Does it need some reinforcements? Yeah, but so does almost every other team.

There’s a whole lot of baseball to play, and I can’t wait to find out how it all shakes out.

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JEFF WILSON can be reached at jeffreyewilson5@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffwilson83.

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