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Yadier Molina stole the show Tuesday night in Miami from snapping a picture for Mariners OF Nelson Cruz with veteran umpire Joe West, who was behind the plate for Tuesday's mid-summer classic to his game tying home run not to be topped by his gold-plated catching gear.
 
For Cardinals Nation, it was probably the highlight of what was a frustrating first half.
 
Young hitters Randal Grichuk and Aledmys Diaz both have been sent to the minor leagues at different points to work on their swings. The club traded Matt Adams to the Atlanta Braves, who has played so well, he displaced superstar Freddie Freeman to third base upon his return from the disabled list from a broken hand.
 
Promising outfielder Stephen Piscotty at times has looked lost at the plate and the team even cut Jhonny Peralta after a disappointing finish to a four-year contract the veteran signed in 2013. 
 
The Cardinals have been plagued by poor base running decisions at numerous times and the defense has been even more of a liability just as often.
 
Despite all the woes, the Redbirds hit the All Star break two games under .500 and finished off the first half with series victories of playoff hopefuls Arizona and Washington, splitting a series with the Marlins and took two of three from the disappointing New York Mets.
 
The Redbirds had plenty to smile about in the first half.
 
Jedd Gyorko has been a revelation since his acquisitions last year from San Diego, as he slugged 13 HR, 16 doubles and drove in a team hight 45 runs in the first half en-route to a .300 average and an .882 OPS.
 
While some haven't been pleased with the play of veteran infielder Matt Carpenter at times, his .827 OPS is in line with his career average. 
 
The big offseason signing for St. Louis, Dexter Fowler, has been very solid despite some criticism from the fanbase. 
 
His 14 HR in the first half put him well on pace for a career year and surpasses his 2016 total.
 
Tommy Pham has played himself into an everyday role for the Birds on the Bat. With eight doubles and 11 home runs, his Pham's .895 OPS has made him a very valuable piece to the lineup.
 
And Kolten Wong seems past the early struggles of his young career. The second baseman has battled injuries so far this year but has been very good at the plate when he's healthy. 15 doubles and .393 on base have resulted in an .838 OPS.
 
Raise your hand if you saw Mike Leake spending much of the first half atop the National League as the ERA leader?
 
Leake was brought in to eat innings in the middle of the rotation but has battled with ace Carlos Martinez as the Cardinals top starter in 2017.
 
Leake's 74 strikeouts in the first half have him on pace to match his season high 164 strikeouts in 2014.
 
Carlos Martinez has established himself as the ace of the staff, if he wasn't already.
 
His 128 strikeouts easily lead the team and is average a career high 9.9 K/9 and a career low, 7 hits per nine innings. 
 
Lance Lynn has been very good as well. His 3.61 ERA has been a nice surprise for the Redbird rotation which has been hit hard with injuries. 
 
At two games under-.500, St. Louis is tied with Chicago for second in the NL Central and sits five-and-a-half back of division leading Milwaukee. 
 
At this point, the division is very much wide open and if John Mozeliak can land a big bat like Josh Donaldson or Marcel Ozuna, the Cardinals would put themselves in prime position to make a run at the Central, a division most thought the Cubs would run away with.

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