Since then, 17 games have passed with St. Louis cementing the best team ERA in the Majors, all without ace Adam Wainwright, who was lost for the season with a torn Achilles tendon in April.
"They've done it this far," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Why can't it be sustainable? I get it that there's a lot of numbers that say it would be hard to [sustain the success], but I don't want them even glimpsing at that."
With 109 games left to play, Lackey, who was a part of World Series winning rotations in Anaheim (2002) and Boston ('13), offered a more cautionary assessment of the pitching, but one rife with praise.
"It's still pretty early, but as far as talent-wise, we've got some guys with some really good arms, especially Carlos [Martinez] and [Michael] Wacha," Lackey said. "Lance [Lynn] is coming into his own, kind of prime, and Jaime [Garcia] has come in and really helped us out with some quality starts. We've got a long way to go, but we're doing all right right now."
David Cobb is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.