Blog Entry

Cards World Series-bound after record run

Posted on: October 16, 2011 11:51 pm
MILWAUKEE -- If the St. Louis Cardinals' starters pitch this lousy in the World Series ... why, they just might stand a puncher's chance against the Texas Rangers.

Go figure. Tony La Russa burned through 28 pitching changes over six games, using 34 total pitchers ... and his was the team that won. St. Louis burned through the Brewers one more time, 12-6, to seize this NL Championship Series.

And this whole "Happy Flight" thing has gotten quite out of control as the Cardinals streaked to their 22nd win in their past 31 games: They've now won 17 consecutive games leading into a flight this season. And their post-Game 6 flight was the happiest of all: It took them home, and straight into the World Series.

Who would have figured this? The Cardinals were 10 1/2 games out of the wild-card slot in late August, and 8 1/2 out on Sept. 6. Then the Braves started losing, the Cardinals started winning and who knows when it will end?

Ace Chris Carpenter seemed gassed after his beautiful Game 5 classic over Roy Halladay in Philadelphia, but it didn't matter. Edwin Jackson? Lasted two innings in Game 6, but it didn't matter. Jaime Garcia? Kyle Lohse? Neither was sharp but ... you got it. Just didn't matter.

The Cardinals clearly were the better team, and right now it's looking like their TKO of the Phillies was no fluke. The Cardinals led the NL in on-base percentage this season for the first time since 2003, and they're only getting better.

And this was more than Albert Pujols, who flexed for five RBIs in Game 2. This was David Freese's coming out party. With Matt Holliday nursing a sore hand, Freese was unstoppable. In running his postseason hitting streak to nine games, he batted .459 (17 for 37) with five doubles, four homers and 14 RBI. In the six-game NLCS, Freese rolled out the barrel on the Brewers to the tune of a.545 (12 for 22) average with three homers and nine RBIs.

But despite all this, the real stars were those odd-named (Mark Rzepcynski), bespectacled and bearded (Jason Motte), Ryan Braun-killing (Octavio Dotel, who whiffed the Brewers outfielder again Sunday and now has struck him out in nine of 11 career at-bats) and old men (Arthur Rhodes) in the bullpen.

The six consecutive games in which a starting pitcher failed to work into the sixth inning is the longest such postseason streak in St. Louis history.

Normally, that's a recipe for disaster. But with La Russa mixing matchups more expertly than a master bartender mixes drinks, it suddenly wasn't. Time after time, La Russa was able to get Dotel to trump Braun, or the lefty Rzepcynski to face the left-handed Fielder.

Against a Texas lineup that is deeper than most in the National League, La Russa and the bullpen will have their work cut out for them. But if you're going to bet against this club after the month they've put together, well, that's on you.

Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: October 17, 2011 2:28 pm

Cards World Series-bound after record run

Your grapes are very, very sour, WVAISAWEFUL. (Also, you apparently don't know how to spell "awful.")

None of this changes the World Series matchup. Go cards.

Since: Oct 8, 2011
Posted on: October 17, 2011 12:13 pm

Cards World Series-bound after record run

The good teams get into the playoffs, (tournaments) usually the better teams win them. It comes down to who's the healthiest, more confident, and yes luckiest that that generally will win a short series.Teams HAVE to be able to win on the road against the top teams and the Cardinals have the identical record home and away and went 4-2 on the road against the top 2 teams in the national league. The Brewers 4 under on the road the Phills 12 better than the Cards but loses the regular season matchup against them..Who knows, thats why the games are played on the field and not on paper and why so often a wild card team can go all the way....

Since: Oct 17, 2011
Posted on: October 17, 2011 10:31 am

Cards World Series-bound after record run

Your arguement is its a Wildcard issue?  Now thats a reach...Cards had 90 not 85 wins.  Not only did we beat them in the playoffs, we were the only team to have a winning record against them in the regulare season including a sweep of a 3 game series.  Phillies may have better overall record but the Cards dominated them and we are in the world series.  Hence, we ARE the better team.

Since: Apr 9, 2008
Posted on: October 17, 2011 8:55 am

Cards World Series-bound after record run

I'd like to see the Cards win, but I'd say Rangers in five. It will be a high scoring series as both of these teams do not have really dominant starting pitching but have great hitting.

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: October 17, 2011 2:37 am

Cards World Series-bound after record run

The Phillies were approximately 7% better than the Cardinals and the Brewers were only about 4% better than the Cardinals for the regular season.  Sorry, but neither is dominant and in a best of 5 or 7 series it could go either way.  If you think about it that only represents about 1 additional win in the NFL and we wouldnt call a 12-4 vs a 11-5 match one of a obviously better team versus a lesser one.  We shouldnt be shocked either that the Tigers, who were only sported about a 1.5% worse record than the Yankees beat them.  This year you could have added an additional wildcard team in each league that would have been about the same tier (Braves and Red Sox) based on records.  However, both of those teams took a swan dive at the end of the season and should they have gotten into the party with that trend?  I guess you got to draw a line somewhere and honestly there only seems to be enough quality teams for 1 wildcard in both leagues on a year to year basis and that is a great thing about the playoffs and the wildcard.  You still have to be good enough to get into the party...far more difficult than Hockey or Football at this point.  Only a fraction more than a quarter of the teams (26.7 pct) in the MLB get a invite to the party, while more than third (37.5% - NFL and about 50% in NHL and NBA) in the NFL and about half of the NHL and NBA get to see Post Season.

Just look at the NBA's Playoffs and you get the Bulls (75.6 win pct) vs the Pacers (45.1 win pct) in the first round...there is a 20% difference in winning between the teams with a lesser amount of games played than in MLB.  If the Pacers pull it off, I totally agree that the better team lost (like the Spurs did).  They were double digits better in the regular season and unless there was some injury wouldnt make sense for them to lose.  However, the Grizzlies werent able to continue their winning ways in the postseason when OKC stopped them (and their record was 11% better in the regular season).  

If you want to say that the Phillies were better or that the Yankees were better, then we need to go back to the days of no divisions and just 2 leagues.  The winner play a 7 game series.  There might be some excitement at the end of the season...and those would definitely be special, but not all that common.  However, you would definitely be able to say who was best through 162 as they should all play the same schedule.  I think the wildcard has been fun for several years now and as long as they dont give out 2-3 wildcards to just purely expand the playoffs further it is a great system.

Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: October 17, 2011 1:27 am

Cards World Series-bound after record run

They dont do this in ANY other sport.....Why cry about it in baseball? Did YOUR team lose or something?

Basketball, Hockey, Home field advantage should be more than enough

the cardinals overcame home field advantage and Game 1 losses on the ROAD in BOTH series.... What's t

so unfair?

Phillie got beat by a better team, a better offense

Brewers got beat by a better team, better offense, nearly equal pitching, bett manager

End of story.

you are actaully SERIOUS?  This proposal is LAuGHABLE, and SCREAMS "My team lost"

With all due respect to you, this is senseless 

Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: October 17, 2011 1:20 am

Cards World Series-bound after record run

Better team my foot, BEFORE the trade deadline, we had more blown saves than any team in history.....tied with the twins.

 Albert DL, 16 days.

Hollliday, missed 40 games, multiple DL, 30+ DL Stints

Oh yeah, no WAINWRIGHT all season

Ryan Franklin, Trevor Miller, Miguel Batista, they KILLED us, and about 25 8th inning leads (Check, it's afact)

3 ROOKIE Closers, getting better as season went on.

THIS is the best team in the National LEague, as it GREW and GREW into the best team, with the help of a tremendous trade deadline, acquring Rzypcienski, Octavio "Braun is 2 fo 11 with 9 K's) Braun, Edwin Jackson, AND Furcal!

Throw in young contributers John Jay, Allen Craig, Mitchell Boggs, Daniel DeScalso and LAnce Lynn - Got better

FINALLY< our farm system is LOADED. Matt Adams, double-a MVP most liklely, Shelby Miller - pedro martinez like stuff, Carlos martinez, WHO KNOWS how good this guy will be, and Zach cox? WOW. WOW . WOW

...and oh yeah, we get a Decent pitcher named Adam Wainwright back next seson.

THIS is a good franchise

Since: Mar 28, 2007
Posted on: October 17, 2011 1:07 am

Cards World Series-bound after record run

What was the overall  record of the Phillies vs the Cardinals this year? Yeah we beat you in the regular season AND in your house in the playoffs so yeah youre the better team! LOL

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: October 17, 2011 12:45 am

Cards World Series-bound after record run

I've heard the "better team" arguement a number of times - but IMO - it's not compelling.

Baseball and most other sports (with the exclusion of the mentally challenged NCAA football system) have a system that says the "better team" is the one that is able to get into playoff series, and then win them.

Was Philadelphia the better regular season team?  of course - they won 102 and St. Louis only won 90.  But, by definition they were not the better team when it mattered because they lost in the playoff series.

Actually, this is all very objective - no voting, or opinions -you play and if you lose - your not the better team.

The MLB could just not have league playoff series and award the pennant to the team with the most regular season wins- but that is not how they determine the "best team" right now.  Stacking the deck more in the favor of the regular season best team has its pitfalls too - e.g. how many games should have Texas got to play at home (5, 6?) for being 1 game better than Detriot?

The system seems fine - its just that the "better team" is not always the team who has the most regular season wins.

Since: Oct 16, 2011
Posted on: October 17, 2011 12:45 am

Cards World Series-bound after record run

It's when a team gets hot!  Check Baseball history! 

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