Just a couple thoughts...
Please disist from the schedule argument. The Reds played 16 of their first 23 at home, which included the 2 worst teams in the NL. The Cardinals opened with 16 of their first 22 on the road, including the defending world champs.
Drop the injury argument, the Cardinals lost their ace, their starting SS and their closer, who led the league in saves in 2012.
Finally, lose the scrap heap argument. The Redbirds have more home grown talent on their roster than just about any team in MLB. They have replaced players with players from their minor league system.
I hate to be the one to break this, but the Cardinal farm system is LOADED. Not only have I never seen such wealth in the St.Louis system, but I'm hard pressed to have seen it anywhere, and I have been a student of the game for almost 50 years.
Having said that, I picked the Reds to win the division and the Redbirds to miss the playoffs this year. I figured that next year St.Louis would begin to flourish, what with 40 large coming off the books and the first wave of youngsters being promoted.
Circumstances have dictated that the timetable be accelerated. They way I see it, by 2015 this team is going to be everyone's nightmare.