After the disappointing headlines that fans endured during the off-season regarding Albert Pujols and Adam Wainwright, and the woeful 2-6 start to the 2011 season, most fans were probably beginning to assume that they were about to witness 2010 version 2.0.
However, the team's current West Coast road trip has injected the fan base with a large dose of hope.
Berkman has two multiple home run games and six total home runs in the past week. Pujols seems to have snapped out of his cold streak. He hit two homers during Friday night's game against the Dodgers, and three total on the road trip; his recent hot streak has increased his average from less than .150 to a respectable .289.
The rest of the team has been doing their share as well.
David Freese has been on a tear, raising his average to .370. Colby Rasmus has had a hit in every game of the road trip, including two home runs. And Yadier Molina had a four hit night against the Dodgers on Friday.
The Cardinal's offense had potential that they never lived up to in 2010, so the team still has that potential, we just never thought it would emerge based on the poor 2010 performance, combined with the pitiful start to 2011.
Still, it has to be cautious optimism. The depth behind the current batting line-up is paper thin, so one or two injuries to key guys could ruin the team.
Also, the starting pitchers have done a remarkable job stepping up and filling the void left by Wainwright. So it's uncertain whether or not an aging veteran like Chris Carpenter can be effective all season, or if a young player like Jaime Garcia can stay consistent.
The season is very young, and it will likely be a roller coaster ride, but fans have to be thrilled to see the elevated moods in the dugout, as well as the elevated offensive production.