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MLB Standings Update: Cardinals Tied For First As All-Star Break Ends

Matt Holliday had his appendix removed, Albert Pujols suffered one of the most serious injuries of his career, Adam Wainwright is done for the season, and Ryan Franklin had one of the worst starts in the history of closerdom—and for all that the St. Louis Cardinals are six games over .500 at 49-43, and in a tie atop the National League Central standings with the Milwaukee Brewers at the start of the official second half of the season. It's not the strongest division in Major League Baseball, but the Cardinals have always managed to pull out of tailspins as soon as their opponents do—and I suppose there's something to be said for that.

The big surprise of the NL Central standings remains the Pittsburgh Pirates, who go into the second half at 47-43 after finishing the 2010 season with 57 wins and 105 losses. Andrew McCutchen's outstanding season to date and a locktight bullpen is the only reason to believe they'll be able to keep that up in the long term, but it's an impressive bump for a team that hasn't been competitive since before Bryce Harper was born. 

For the full NL Central standings check out Viva El Birdos's unusually informative sidebar. Full MLB standings can be found here.