If the American public had the kind of faith in the auto industry's brands that SportsNation has in the St. Louis Cardinals, well, maybe Hyundai wouldn't be reporting record profits. Come hell, high water or Miguel Tejada, voters refuse to doubt the power of Pujols.

A little more than a week ago, the Cardinals were 49-42, held a 2½-game lead on their closest competition in the NL Central and were the pick of 60 percent of SportsNation to win the division. Fast-forward to the present, and they've gone just 2-4 in the interim, including a sweep at the hands of Tejada and the Astros, and watched three teams close to within two games of the lead. And now 65 percent of voters are picking them to win. If they get swept again, this thing might be unanimous.

Looking at each of the four top contenders, SportsNation blogger pacersfanatic33 admits he's among those who underestimated the Cardinals' pitching entering the season and suggests acquiring shortstop Julio Lugo from the Red Sox isn't necessarily a minor trade.

If only the Pirates were so lucky. The Bucs actually won Wednesday -- in dramatic fashion, no less -- but the bigger news of the day came when the team traded yet another regular player, Adam LaRoche, for seemingly marginal return. Next up? Probably Jack Wilson and even Freddy Sanchez. It's not exactly a crushing condemnation, but SportsNation isn't buying that the team has a plan. The verdict is that the franchise is bad for baseball.

tyhoward24

Wow...what a game [between the Cardinals and Astros], and what a division. This is going to be really fun down the stretch.

-- TyHoward24
pride4jc1222

Wow, the Astros are only a game back in the NL Central... Oh, what a division!

-- pride4jc1222
cards%20fan90

[Ryan] Franklin has had an outstanding year. This one game doesn't change that. I blame our offense for this sweep.

-- Cards Fan90

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