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Winning ugly: The Cardinals topple the Brewers and win the NL Pennant

Oct 17, 2011, 12:06 AM EDT

St Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers - Game Six Getty Images

Maybe I should say “beating ugly.”  Because while there were all kinds of things in this game that were hard to look at, the Brewers looked way worse in losing 12-6 to the NL Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Three more errors tonight made for seven in Milwaukee’s final two games.  Fourteen more hits allowed means 24 in those two games.  The Brewers’ defense — never a strength — and their pitching suffered a complete meltdown in Games 5 and 6 of the NLCS.

From the moment Shaun Marcum blew up in Game 2 of the series, people were asking whether he’d get to pitch in Game 6.  The response back, however, was who else could Ron Roenicke use? The next arm on the staff was Chris Narveson and he’s no great shakes himself, so Marcum got the call. And he promptly gave up four runs on three hits.  From there it was Narveson, who was even worse, giving up five runs on four hits.  It seemed that either answer was the wrong one.  The Brewers — whose pitching was vastly improved in 2011 — simply didn’t have enough of it as the season came to a close.  A good arm like Marcum’s was simply too tired. And there was no one else to pick up the slack.

As for the Cardinals, it was the same old story:  a starting pitcher didn’t go deep but the bullpen stepped in and disabused the opposition of any notion that it could get itself back into the game.  Edwin Jackson had nothing on his pitches and his command was nonexistent. But then the pen gave Tony La Russa seven innings of three-hit, two-run ball.

And now we have a World Series matchup: Texas vs. St. Louis, beginning on Wednesday.  We’ll have a more in-depth preview of the festivities between now and then, but my knee jerk reaction: the Cardinals have a good bullpen pitching well and a lot of pop up and down that lineup.  But the Rangers have a better bullpen and more pop in theirs.  Although, I suppose someone could totally disrupt the script at this point and, say, leave a starting pitcher in for as many as five or six innings, but why go crazy now?

If we’ve learned anything this fall it’s that predicting baseball is for suckers.  But we still have our opinions, and this man’s opinion is that the Rangers seem like the stronger team.  We have two full baseball-free days in which to consider the matter, however.  For now: congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals: champions of the National League.

  1. sadpandarevolt - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    **Sigh**

    This is like Fear and Loathing, it’s the victory of the boring and haughty over the fun and free.

    • tomemos - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:22 AM

      Who in the world thumbs-downs a Fear and Loathing reference?? I WILL CUT YOU!!

    • fearlessleader - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:24 AM

      If you think this Cardinal team is “boring and haughty,” you haven’t been following them for the last few months.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 8:48 AM

        Dead on…becuase there is nothing but fundamentally sound baseball being played by the Cardinals. And what about that offense? Boring and Haughty? LOL!

    • cintiphil - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:11 AM

      Sour Grapes.

  2. hotkarlsandwich - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:17 AM

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SUCH A GREAT DAY! CONGRATS TO STL!

  3. frankvzappa - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:21 AM

    “If we’ve learned anything this fall it’s that predicting baseball is for suckers.”

    Truer words were never spoken. I lost a goddamn fortune. Good thing I had a fortune to lose after hitting a nine-teamer on the last day of the regular season. I also have to agree that the Rangers look ready to win it all, so once I get my bets down the Cardinals should be a lock. Lousy stupid bodog…

    • qcubed3 - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:02 AM

      I predict that neither the Royals or Pirates will make it to the postseason next year . . .

  4. dlevalley - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:23 AM

    Countdown until the Brewers announce that Marcum has been playing through a bum shoulder in T-minus 5…4…3…

  5. missthedayswhenwedidnthavetologin - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    More affectionately known as the Gerald Laird Series

  6. spudchukar - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:15 AM

    Thanks for the Kudos Craig. It has been a magical run. At some point the Cardinal offense needs to get some appreciation. And hitting coach Mark McGwire deserves some of the credit.

    I have said it before, but thanks again Cards, you have given me more games to root for victory, and what else can a fan ask for.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 8:54 AM

      Yep…thanks Craig. I couldn’t agree more spud…the offense (and McGwire) need to receive big accolades. With McGwire I am not really surprised though because I think it is illegal to praise him now.

    • paperlions - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:02 AM

      Eh, haven’t we pretty much established that hitting coaches don’t have a very big effect? Any time a team changes hitting coaches the hitting never changes in response….as with being manager, the key to being a successful hitting coach is to have good hitters.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:08 AM

        You might have established that…but I haven’t. You have managed to do it once again Paper. I have actually come to expect it.

      • paperlions - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:15 AM

        What I have managed to do is to make you question assumptions you are making with no evidence whatsoever.

        Sorry man….but 100s of teams have fired hitting coaches of offensively slumping teams, you know what happens when a new hitting coach comes in? Nothing. By the time they get to the majors, most hitters are who they are….and while coaching seems like it should help, no one can tell that it does. You know why there are no well known hitting coaches? I’ll let you ponder that one.

      • tophermike - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:41 PM

        I have to disagree with this lions. The hitting coaches may not be the ones to improve who a hitter is, but they are the guys that get the most out of each hitter. You cant bring in a stellar hitting coach and make a career .220 catcher bat .330 with 40 home runs, but you can certainly make a sporadic hitter more effective and consistent. Look at how yadier Molina has become such a solid, consistent hitter just from working with Pujols (and now McGwire). the great coaches dont give you extra skills, they just find a way to pull every bit of skill out on a regular basis.

      • paperlions - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:27 PM

        Theoretically, that is fine…show me something to back that up. Who has inexplicably (or even explicably) improved as an offensive player on the Cardinals the 2 yrs Mac has been there? I can’t think of anyone…and the guys that used to work in the offseason with McGwire got worse, Schumaker was better before ever working with him, so was Brendan Ryan….Holliday worked with him one year and sucked before ditching all the changes he made working with McGwire (that was 2009).

        The best instructors in any organization are in the lower minors, once a guy gets to the majors, he is who he is…..if you can find evidence to the contrary, I’d love to see it. I don’t think McGwire has a negative effect, but I don’t see any positive ones either. Again, there have been hittin coaches for decades and not a single one has ever become note worthy…there is a reason for that.

  7. holliswatson - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:21 AM

    If you didn’t have a dog in the fight, that was one ugly game. But if you’re a Cards fan, what’s not to like? TLR and Albert are in their element, and Carp’s lined up for Game 1. Bring on the Rangers!!!!!!!

  8. cktai - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:29 AM

    This postseason has been horrible. First I was rooting for a Phillies and Rays world series. After that hope was crushed I cheered for the Brewers and the Tigers. Now there are two teams in the world series that I really don’t care for.

    On the bright side, the Netherlands beat Cuba in the baseball world cup and become the first European team to be crowned world champions.

    • Joe - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:51 AM

      I was first gunning for Milwaukee-Tampa. Then, Tampa fell so I wanted Milwaukee-Detroit. Now they’re both out, so I’m rooting for a pitching-heavy series that goes to 7 games, because I figure that’s the best baseball.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 8:55 AM

        Same with you Joe. Would you mind rooting for the Rangers?

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 8:52 AM

      Can you do me a favor and root for the Rangers?

  9. doramek - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:09 AM

    May the team with the better hitting pitchers win!

  10. denverdude7 - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:10 AM

    Rangers over Cardinals in six games. First of back – to – back titles for the Rangers.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 8:56 AM

      Ummm…the Rangers didn’t win the World Series last year.

      • phillyphreak - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:13 AM

        I think it was supposed to read “first OF back – to back- titles…”…

        Or I’m wrong …whatever.

      • Alex K - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:14 AM

        That’s why he said first of back to back.

      • anythingbutyanks - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:16 AM

        “first”

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:43 AM

        So…he is saying the Rangers will go to Three straight World Series?

      • Alex K - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:06 AM

        Yep.

      • 1historian - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:10 AM

        correctamundo – he said ‘first’, IOW this year they will win and next year they will win

        I Iike St. Louis because they’ve been around forever and they have very classy uniforms that have been like that for eons and they’re Sam Bush’s FAVORITE team, and I like Texas because they’ve never won it in 50 years.

        I was amused when the red sox flubbed the dub in such spectacular fashion, and they’re losing the last game to the ORIOLES just made it that much funnier. The city is STILL coming unglued because of it and the list of suspects to blame increases daily. I’m sure global warming will come up sooner or later.
        It started out as funny, regressed to silly and is now slightly south of boring – get over it.

        Seeing the yankees lose in 5 games at yankee stadium, last out courtesy of a strikeout by a-rod was good. watching the fillies with their all-universe pitching staff lose 1-0 in the 5th game in front of those wonderful fillie fans made it even better.

  11. The Baseball Idiot - Oct 17, 2011 at 6:31 AM

    I can’t believe the Cardinals are able to get the World Series. Not when they have the worst manager in the history of baseball.

    Did you know he’s got the second most losses of any manager in history. Man, LaRussa really sucks.

    • paperlions - Oct 17, 2011 at 8:54 AM

      The hardest part is dealing with the ineptitude of all the umpires.

      • gostlcards5 - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:22 PM

        The ineptitude of the umpires, I agree with, ‘lions. However, please tell me you aren’t saying that this is why StL won. The ineptitude of the umpires was very much in both directions…examples:
        – inconsistent strike zones, especially on low and (separate) inside pitches, completely random at times, although I believe that the zone as a whole got wider after the 5th inning last night
        (Exception – The ump in Game 5 had a wide zone all night to both teams, but at least he was consistent.)
        – blown calls on the bases (last night, Braun, safe at first on the dive….Pujols, safe at home in the first inning)

        (I hope I am misinterpreting your comment, because I find that usually I agree with you.)

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 8:57 AM

      Yeah really. He doesn’t have a clue does he? I can’t wait to see everyone eat crow when he wins NL Manager of the year.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:00 AM

        I will bet you $1000 that La Russa does not win manager of the year. Kirk Gibson will win it, likely unanimously. One wins that award by taking a team that no one thought would do anything to a division title. One does not win it by backing into the wild card because another team collapsed.

      • paperlions - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:17 AM

        I’ll also take Gibson (probably unanimously)…I’ll bet Roenicke even gets more votes.

      • fearlessleader - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:42 AM

        Craig, really? “Backing into the wild card because another team collapsed”?

        The Cards won the wild card by winning more games than any of the other non-division leaders. I’m baffled by the persistent notion that their wins (and Atlanta’s losses) somehow count for less because they came at chiefly the end of the season. Would we have more respect for the Cards if they’d built up a huge early lead, faltered down the stretch, and managed to hang on by a thread?

        Sorry about your Braves (well, mostly—I can’t root for them until they kill that disgusting Tomahawk Chop), but let’s not cheapen the amazing come-from-behind win the Cards just pulled off.

      • cur68 - Oct 17, 2011 at 11:38 AM

        Nice Craig, betting $$. Good. A big step for you. Moving away from threatening to consume non food items and towards $$…now, once we break your gambling habit, you’ll be cured…

      • Bill - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:37 PM

        “The Cards won the wild card by winning more games than any of the other non-division leaders. I’m baffled by the persistent notion that their wins (and Atlanta’s losses) somehow count for less because they came at chiefly the end of the season. Would we have more respect for the Cards if they’d built up a huge early lead, faltered down the stretch, and managed to hang on by a thread?”

        Nice insight, but it cuts both ways. Imagine a hypothetical season in which the Braves and the Cardinals are neck-and-neck for most of the season in the wildcard race, but the Cardinals pull out one extra win and take the playoff berth with 90 wins to the Braves’ 89. Same result, but La Russa’s achievement for the season suddenly lacks its previous luster. True Fact: Tony La Russa’s team won one more game in the regular season than Fredi Gonzalez’s team. Fredi freakin’ Gonzalez.

        Also, I don’t think anyone has argued that Atlanta’s losses count for less because they happened at the end of the year. In fact, I think that’s basically the opposite of the conventional wisdom, which exaggerates the meaning and importance of poor September performances at the expense of otherwise solid seasons (see: 2011 Boston Red Sox, The).

        Let’s tweak the narrative a little bit. Wouldn’t it be just as accurate to appreciate the solid performance of a Braves team that had built up enough of a wildcard lead in late August to go 0-fer-September and only lose the playoffs by a single game? And wouldn’t it be just as fair to be baffled by the season-long performance of a Cardinals team that needed both a statistically improbable explosion of wins coupled with an even more statistically improbable Braves collapse just in order to squeak into the postseason?

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 2:23 PM

        @ Bill: Good post (for the most part). Do me a favor though…take a look at where the Cardinals were during the months of June and July. Specifically, the circumstances around the team during this time frame. The Cardinals needed a lot more than “both a statistically improbable explosion of wins coupled with an even more statistically improbable Braves collapse just in order to squeak into the postseason.” They needed to get healthy. See my post in regards to why…(in my opinion) TLR is going to get NL Manager of the year. Yeah…that TLR who “only” won ONE more regular season game than Freddie “freakin” Gonzalez.

    • cintiphil - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:14 AM

      Do you just like to Hate? You are stupid.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:23 AM

        I was thinking the same thing Cincy. Some peoples glass is always half empty.

      • paperlions - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:45 AM

        See….I was thinking it was sarcasm (and, honestly, pretty obvious sarcasm). TBI is ultra-old school and should LOVE guys like TLR. I will go double or nothing on the $1000 bet that he was being sarcastic.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:06 AM

        I am with you Paper…and I think Cinti is as well. I think his post was directed at someone else.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Oct 17, 2011 at 12:31 PM

        Yep, sarcasm. Figures the Cardinals fans would get it.

        I’m pretty sure Craig was responding with sarcasm also.

  12. Old Gator - Oct 17, 2011 at 7:15 AM

    Faux’s World Series ratings. Hahahahahahahahah……

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:21 AM

      No Craig: One wins it by overcoming a season’s worth of adversity like TLR and the Cardinals have. Let’s recap: Staff Ace (gone since Spring Training). 3rd Baseman (you know him…the LCS MVP)…out for two months resulting in 8 or 9 different 3rd Basemen being used. Closer (released in what…June)? 2nd Baseman (out what…2 months) resulting in 8 or 9 different 2nd Basemen being used? Revolving door at SS (resulting in 6 or 7 different SS being used). Leftfielder (out what…a month)? Starting (enigmatic) CF traded away mid year. All world 1st Baseman also lost for a few weeks at a minimum. A bullpen that led (or was among the league leaders) in blown saves. Do I really need to go on? Sorry Kirk Gibson (you did a heck of a job) albeit in a very week division. Your NL Manager of the year is Tony LaRussa. Finally…something I can’t let go. The Cardinals didn’t back there way into anything. If they don’t go 23 – 9 since August 25 it doesn’t matter what YOUR Braves do. So don’t give me that back into anything crap.

      • cemdinc - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:31 AM

        Craig, point taken about Gibson — I think he deserves it as well — but the “backing into the wild card” comment is absolutely idiotic.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:35 AM

        Look, they played great down the stretch. But they dug themselves a big hole earlier in the season and they do not win the wild card if the Braves don’t utterly collapse.

        But sure, if everyone is willing to give up the idea that the Braves collapsed we can give La Russa total credit for the Cards making the playoffs.

      • thefalcon123 - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:35 AM

        One win also does not overwrite such moves as insisting on Miguel Batista and Ryan Theriot on your team. Let’s not forget, the Braves have just as much to do with the Cards in the postseason as the Cardinals do.

        That being said, LaRussa did a wonderful job in this series.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:42 AM

        Falcon: You do realize TheRiot has been very good for the Cardinals this year…right? I am talking about his offense. Obviously, he was shaky on defense (the primary reason for the Furcal signing). But give TheRiot credit when it’s due. And yes…they dug themselves a big hole. A huge part of this hole was caused by most of the isses (SEE ADVERSITY) I referenced in the previous post. Everyone has injuries over the course of 162 games. But the Cardinals injuires were rediculous. Look at them…compared to other clubs and you will see for yourself. People can hate all they want.
        TLR will continue racking up ‘W’s”…and 4 1/2 hour ballgames.

      • paperlions - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:52 AM

        Yeah, I’m going to do it again…but you couldn’t be more wrong about Erriot. He had a .321 OBP (which is BELOW league average, which includes pitchers hitting) with no power. If he had enough bats to qualify, his .662 OPS would rank 62nd out of 66 players with enough PAs to qualify for the batting title. He was horrible.

      • phillyphreak - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:55 AM

        Can we not carried away with Theriot’s offensive production this year? Yea he hit 0.271 but he had a 0.321 OBA and 0.292wOBA. That’s good for 140 in the ML in OBP and 180 in the ML in wOBA (min 400PA) and 264th in the Majors for oWAR.

      • cemdinc - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:57 AM

        Maybe we just have differing opinions on what it means to back in to the playoffs. I agree that the Cards played very average for much of the year, and you’re right they dug a huge hole for themselves. But to me, “backing in” would be like if the Cards played near .500 ball and the Braves collapsed — kind of a “neither team seems to want it” situation. I think when you close the season on a 22-9 run, you’ve earned it, that’s all.

        And, no, I don’t worship the ground TLR walks on — I think he did a great job this year, but I think that Roenicke or Gibson deserve NL Manger of the Year more than Tony.

      • phillyphreak - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:00 AM

        I feel the need to point out that injuries happen to every team. For example, the team that the Cardinals beat for the WC (by good play by them for sure but an equal horrible collapse), the Braves, also lost Hanson, Jurrjens, and had Heyward’s doppleganger for most of the season.

      • phillyphreak - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:00 AM

        I feel the need to point out that injuries happen to every team. For example, the team that the Cardinals beat for the WC (by good play by them for sure but an equal horrible collapse), the Braves, also lost Hanson, Jurrjens, and had Heyward’s doppelganger for most of the season.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:15 AM

        Paper/Flacon/Philly: Didn’t TheRiot absolutely stroke the ball against the Phillies…or am I mistaken? I mean that sincerely…it seems to me (when he has played in the postseason) he has done quite well. I could be wrong (Paper I count on you to point that out to me when you feel so as you do such a wonderful job at it).

      • phillyphreak - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:41 AM

        Stlouis1baseball:

        Your original statement was:

        “Falcon: You do realize TheRiot has been very good for the Cardinals this year…right?”

        - No, no he hasn’t been very good this year. Did he hit well against the Phillies? Yep. But that wasn’t your claim. Plus small sample size alert.

      • thefalcon123 - Oct 17, 2011 at 11:56 AM

        “Falcon: You do realize TheRiot has been very good for the Cardinals this year…right?”

        @ St. Louis 1 Baseball:

        Theriot had an 86 OPS+, a .321 OBP, a 0.0 WAR.
        In no universe was Theriot anything other than really bad for the Cardinals this year.

      • gostlcards5 - Oct 17, 2011 at 1:07 PM

        Craig Calcaterra – Oct 17, 2011 at 9:35 AM

        “Look, they played great down the stretch. But they dug themselves a big hole earlier in the season and they do not win the wild card if the Braves don’t utterly collapse.

        “But sure, if everyone is willing to give up the idea that the Braves collapsed we can give La Russa total credit for the Cards making the playoffs.”
        ———————————————————————————————————–
        Craig, we all understand that you’re a Braves fan, and the Cardinals did need the Braves to play badly to win the WC, no doubt about it. However, if you flipped the Cardinals’ June/July with their August/September, that would be backing into the playoffs.

        Bottom Line: The Cardinals made moves to get better from July 31 – Aug 14. Those moves, coupled with getting some players completely healthy, is what changed the fortune of the team. Make no mistake about it….23-9 in the last 32 games (.719 baseball, folks) is not backing in, you have to play well and win.

        Yes, I also understand the people that will say this team had injuries, etc. Part of it is, you control what you can control, a.k.a. – play as well as you can with who you have on the field. The stuff you can’t control (who is injured and when, the other teams’ records outside of your head-to-head) is what it is. All that matters is who won the most games at the end of the year. The Cardinals did enough to make that happen, and the timing worked out that they came into the playoffs hot.

        As always, only my $0.02, and looking forward to another good series with the Rangers.

  13. Jonny 5 - Oct 17, 2011 at 8:11 AM

    This absolutely makes me sick. Charlie Manuel made a huge mistake of opening the door for this Cardinals team to roll right up to the WS by being the one team capable of blocking them from the playoffs, and ignoring it.

    Charlie, I love you, but that was a dumbassed move and I hope you learned a valuable lesson there.

    As I root for the Rangers to win it all, I will expect the Cards to take it all. As I choke back the bile of another playoff &%)*($ job from the Phills.

    • badmamainphilliesjamas - Oct 17, 2011 at 8:49 AM

      Woulda, coulda, shoulda . . . the way the Phils played in the NLDS, I’m not sure they would have beaten anyone. The winners are finding lots of ways to win. Unfortunately, our Phils found lots of ways to lose :(

      • Jonny 5 - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:05 AM

        They had trouble with the Cards all season long and came up on the losing end every time they faced them. It was risky and stupid to open the door to the playoffs for them. That’s all I’m saying…

      • thefalcon123 - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:36 AM

        So….the Phillies should have thrown those games against the Braves?!?!?!

      • thumper001 - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:40 AM

        Doesn’t the rash of Phils surgeries, post-season, at least factor in this somewhat? Hernia is a really painful thing to play through. Maybe look at the training regime, though, if anything. That was quite a mini-cluster of hernial tears folks were playing through in the last half.

        And tears like that are usually in a place where “rubbing some dirt on it” is typically ineffective. Ever tried to do some heavy lifting after you tear something sensitive in your happy place? Not good. Even with painkillers…pills or shots can take the edge off the pain, but they cannot put the “pop” back in your bat with a hernial tear. They tend to reduce hitters to hitting mainly with their upper bodies.

        But they do heal with time. So, the Hot Stove will soon be warming, and Spring Training ain’t that far off. Phils will be dangerous again next year. Count on it. Add a little here. Take a little off there…and there you go (and I’m not even a Phils fan).

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:07 AM

      Wait a minute Jonny. A couple of things I need to mention and/or for you to clarify. 1) I seem to remember you defending the decision to play the Braves tough so you don’t lose your way into the Playoffs. You know…go in on a good note the way you guys sucked it up the last couple of weeks. 2) Being a Phillies fan…(in my opinion) you would be a sell out should you root for the AL club cause’ it’s NL all the way for me. Plus…you always root for the team that knocks you out cause’ it makes getting be them easier to swallow. The AL? Really?

      • Jonny 5 - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:22 AM

        1) I’ll defend most decisions Charlie makes until it back fires so badly it tosses them from the playoffs or a WS win. Like it did this time in epic fashion. I am a true fan of my team.

        2) I am a huge fan of Ron Washington, he’s my 2nd favorite manager in baseball. I normally follow exactly what you stated above, but this time is different for me as 1) I Love Ron Washington, and 2) I hate Tony Larussa. Sure it’s “better” to be kicked out by the WS champs (i swear that’s how I normally roll) but things are different this season.

  14. paperlions - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    Rangers OPS at home this year: 860
    Ranger OPS on the road this year: .740

    Cardinals OPS at home this year: .745
    Cardinals OPS on the road this year: .785

    The Cardinals play in a park that more than slightly favors pitching and still lead the NL in runs scored with Freese missing 1/2 the year, and Berkman, Holliday, and Pujols all missing time. The Rangers offense is great at home, but everyone’s offense is great in that park, it is a freaking launching pad. They were average on the road. If the Cardinals can take advantage of that fact in the first 2 games, they’ll have a good chance of winning.

    • Jonny 5 - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:07 AM

      PL, I guess we’re two of the few and far between who see the Cards as having a good shot at this?

      • paperlions - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:19 AM

        Yeah, but they MUST take advantage of their home park…and then hope for some cold nights in TX so the ball isn’t flying quite so much.

    • phillyphreak - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:25 AM

      Interesting. I also think the Cards have a shot at this. They’re playing really well offensively right now. But with the data you present the Rangers being average on the road is almost the same as the Cardinals at home. I guess I think it’s hard to compare OPS between leagues. I’m not sure the competition in the NL is the same as the AL either. For what it’s worth the Rangers run differential was +178 and the Cardinals was +70.

      But I’m not really sure any of this matters now. It should be a good series I hope.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:31 AM

      This year…anyone would be an absolute fool to count the Cardinals out. They didn’t have a chance against the Phillies and they didn’t have a chance against the Brewers. On the flip side…Texas’ pitching (with all their lefty’s) and our starters (going about 2 innings a game last series) worries me. But I will put our offense up against anyone. On a separate note: How did you like the Lefty/Right matchup with Narrvesone and Furcal last night? You know…when Rafael switched over to the right side and launched that ball over the wall?

  15. thumper001 - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:11 AM

    “If we’ve learned anything this fall it’s that predicting baseball is for suckers. But we still have our opinions, and this man’s opinion is that the Rangers seem like the stronger team. We have two full baseball-free days in which to consider the matter, however. For now: congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals: champions of the National League.”

    This exact quote, only substituting the Giants for the Cardinals, could have been made about last year’s World Series, prior to the games beginning. After last year’s ALCS, the Rangers looked unstoppable, a pure juggernaut of power, with good to great pitching (Yankee killers). Feel good stories were everywhere about the Rangers. What did we hear about SF? Fear the Beard, the Machine, and a little hippie named Timmie was born with a wickedly blazing fastball…Who knew “looks” could be so deceiving? (worst thing about last year was hearing Tim McCarver say “ginger ale” about 500 times).

    Did any of us give the Giants a chance? I sure didn’t. I figured best case (on paper) for the Giants last year, going in, was to lose the Series 4-2 (assuming Linescum would pull his weight, covering for SF’s anemic offense, by winning a pair of 1-0 pitching gems against Cliff Lee). Anybody bet the Giants would win the series 4-1? Bueller? . And winning games 1&2 by 11-7, 9-0 scores? Crazy, unpredictable stuff, that.

    In hindsight, maybe it’s true, one-line quotes are always the best. LOL. I’m tempted to say it, but I won’t (“that’s why you play the games”). Oops. “Bats cool. Others heat up. Old heroes die hard. Injuries heal. BUT above all, chicks dig scars…” ( just had to throw a Shane Falco-esque reference in there).

  16. cintiphil - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    I didn’t think the birds would get past Philly. Then I thought surely the Brewers had the fire power & pitching, to finish them off. I was wrong on both counts. Great series by the cards. My head is saying the Rangers in 6 at the most. But with the Cardinal team, I don’t know what is going to happen. Congrats to the Cards and good luck to the next WS champ, whom ever it will be.

    P.S. I am a Nat;l league fan, so I have to pull for the redbirds.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:36 AM

      Thanks Cinti. For some reason…I though you were a Redlegs fan?

      • cintiphil - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:58 AM

        You bet I am, but I am not a AL fan or a Texas Fan, I have to root for the birds.

      • stlouis1baseball - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:11 AM

        I thought that was the case. Make no mistake…I don’t care who it is…I am an NL guy through and through. My point about the Redlegs post was I thought I saw you state previously that you were a Nationals fan. Was that not you?

  17. 1historian - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    I don’t know if this story is true but it very well could be.

    When baseball went on strike toward the end of the 1994 season – preventing the world series from being played that year – the fans were understandably pissed. In St. Louis Cardinals management came up with a good idea – have fans come out to the park and go on the playing field and meet some of the Cardinal players.

    Come the big day lots of fans showed up but only one of the Cardinal players showed up.

    Stan Musial.

  18. cintiphil - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    STLou1:

    I am not a Nat’s fan, but they took some of our players in deals. The Reds will be back next year, but they are going to have more problems with pitching than they think. They rely too heavily on Volquez and & Arroyo than they should. I don’t think they have the stuff to carry this team. Votto and crew will be there for the offense however.

  19. cintiphil - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    One more note from me, and that is this:

    Remember Reggie? You know the guy they named the candy bar after? Why was he Mr. October? Because if you make the playoffs, that is all that counts. Jackson was the best in October when his team needed him. What is interesting in the next series, is that both the Rangers and Cards came through in October, and are out playing the other guys whomever they are. Both teams had bad starts to the season, and some even wondered if they would repeat this year as AL champs. Most people wrote off the Cardinals after Wainwright needed Tommy John.I did. Now, I am not writing off anyone!

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