St. Louis ready for playoff run
Marek Mazurek | Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Very rarely is the best team in a league the least talked about. Everyone knew how good the Seahawks were in the NFL last year, everyone knew the Blackhawks had a great chance to win the Stanley Cup (spoiler alert, they did). But ask any casual baseball fan who the best team is this year, and I bet that not too many would guess the correct answer: the St. Louis Cardinals.
Basically every other contender is getting more media attention than St. Louis. The Dodgers have Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, the Cubs have a crop of young stars and the Astros are a novelty.
Yet something tells me the lack of attention is just fine with the Birds. They are not a flashy ball club, they don’t make big trades like the Yankees, they aren’t dependent on start like the Dodgers.
This year, many wrote off St. Louis when star pitcher Adam Wainwright got injured. But relative unknowns such as Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez have carried the Cardinals into September, where they’re sitting pretty.
Though it causes me tremendous pain to say this as Cubs fan, the Cardinals are the safest bet to win the World Series this year. They are the embodiment of a championship contender: they win at home, they win on the road, they win against the National League, they win against the American League. And still no one talks about them.
With the division more or less in hand, Cardinal fans are already looking ahead to the playoffs where some combination of the Pirates, Dodgers, Cubs and Mets awaits them.
The Cubs are inexperienced and beyond starting pitcher Jake Arrieta, their pitching staff isn’t very scary. The seam goes for the Dodgers. Yes, Kershaw and Greinke have dominated in the regular season, but Kershaw has had his struggles in the playoffs, and if he isn’t on, yikes. And the Dodgers have been no-hit twice in the last three weeks. That doesn’t bode well, either.
The Pirates may be a tough match for St. Louis, as their season record is split at 8-8. And finally, the Mets are just the Mets.
However you slice it, the Cardinals have all the pieces in place to make a deep postseason run. They have three great pitchers in Wacha, Martinez and Jamie Garcia, a solid bullpen, timely hitting from Matt Carpenter and Jhonny Peralta and veteran leadership from Yadier Molina.
A great start from Jake Arrieta or Kershaw may push St. Louis back a game in the playoffs, but I just don’t see anyone getting the better of the Cardinals in four out of seven games, no matter how much young talent or trade deadline moves are involved.
Even Vegas isn’t giving the Cardinals much love. According to Vegasinsider.com, St. Louis has the third best chance to win the World Series behind Toronto and Kansas City.
But that’s ok with the Cards, they’ll just do what they’ve done all season and keep winning until their names are on the Commissioner’s Trophy as World Series champs.
They were ignored when Albert Pujols left, they were written off when Wainwright went down. Don’t make that mistake again, the Cardinal is the true bird of October.