Thank You Cardinal Nation

I can’t be anything but thankful that my favorite team had another successful, 100-game winning year. At any point of the season, to be at 40+ games above .500 is unreal. There are rumors that insinuate an upcoming drought. The Cubs and the Pirates are both predominant threats that are just heating up, and as the Cardinals tanked in the playoffs, the twittersphere is hinting at a new era.

Slow your roll, twitter. The Cubs were better than us, plain and simple. Our pitching bailed us out in the regular season, and our offense bailed us out in the playoffs. There wasn’t enough balance, and we weren’t able to keep up. That’s OK. It wasn’t our year, but it might be theirs. Honestly, if they’re able to hit that many homers in postseason play, they better represent our division in the World Series.

I was hopeful for 2015, but I can’t tell you how thankful I am for that magical 2011 year. Personally, I think it was the best run of postseason play in history. (Granted, I was born in 1994, so what do I know?) Still, it is something that I will have for the rest of my life. As much as I hate the Cubs, their fans deserve something like that too.

To be able to produce 100 wins with all of the injuries is frankly amazing.

  • Adam Wainwright
  • Carlos Martinez
  • Yadier Molina
  • Matt Adams
  • Matt Holliday
  • Jamie Garcia
  • Jon Jay
  • Randal Grichuk

and more.

We were able to win the hardest division in baseball! If we could overcome all of that, there’s no way we’re entering a drought. I have faith in Mozeliak. The Heyward trade was genius.

When the Cardinals come back for the 2016 season, they’ll be a threat. No doubt.

I can’t wait.

Thank you Cardinal Nation. Without the support of the fans, the team would be nothing.

#12in16

NLDS Game 3

Cardinals will take on the out-of-this-world pitcher Jake Arrieta and the Cubs for Game 3. He’s delivering Cy Young material with an impressive 0.27 ERA in his last 9 starts.

Am I scared? Of course, who wouldn’t be? Am I counting the Cardinals out? Absolutely not.

Cubs fans, and pretty much everyone else in America, are rooting against us. Besides the New York Yankees, the Cardinals are the second-most unlikeable team— due to the fact that we win a lot.

Don’t get me wrong, there is justifiable hype for Arrieta. Statistically, he’s favored to win. But let’s look at the Cardinal’s history of playing against aces:

  • 2011: Cliff Lee, ERA of 0.93 in last 10 starts
  • 2012: Kris Medlen, ERA of 0.97 in last 12 starts
  • 2013: Zack Greinke, ERA of 1.57 in last 16 starts
  • 2014: Clayton Kershaw, ERA of 1.32 in last 18 starts

All lost to the Cardinals in playoffs.

Clayton Kershaw lost his matchup to Michael Wacha, who has proved to be stellar in clutch postseason situations.

The Cubs aren’t exactly playing their best game, either. Offensively, they’ve relied on Cardinal errors, a couple squeeze bunts, and a home run. That’s it. Rizzo is 0-10, Bryant is 0-11, and the Cardinals are swinging for the title. In two games, they’ve hit five home runs in two games. I couldn’t be happier! The offense is finally showing signs of life! If we can keep it up, we stand a chance.

Even on short rest, I suspect that Arrieta will be able to deliver a solid 7 innings. I predict he’ll give up 1 run, and Wacha will give up 2 runs. It’ll be up to the Cardinals to shell the bullpen and squeeze out a comeback win. (Please put in Strop, Cubs).

Jason Heyward is my X-factor. I think he’ll help deliver the first run, either by hitting or scoring. If Heyward has a good game, so will the rest of the team.

Obviously the Cubs will need an MVP caliber game from Arrieta, but if they want to win, the defense will have to be on point. The Cardinals hit a lot of sharp line drives to left-center, so don’t fumble it. You could cost yourself an out.

The country is against us. The home field is against us. The statistics are against us.

I stand with the birds. Go Cardinals!

Cardinals Take Game 1

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Okay, with that out of the way, let’s talk game.

Giving the ball to John Lackey proved to be well worth it. He gave Cardinal Nation more than we could’ve asked for. No runs? A no hitter through five? TWO hits? Be still my beating heart.

The Cubs boast a big offensive game, but this proved that if they want to be taken seriously, they’ll have to be clutch. There was zero evidence of a clutch factor for them besides the great first base defense. Oh, you have the rookie of the year? Where was he?

I’m not going to lie, I was worried for our offense coming into the game. It was a tad disappointing to see Jhonny Peralta as his too-familiar postseason self. (He did absolutely nothing in 2014). Even though Matt Carpenter didn’t get a hit, he did draw a walk and an eventual run, and he didn’t strikeout.

I keep waiting for Piscotty to enter a slump, but still nothing. The guy is red hot. 2-4 with a home run. What concussion?

Of course Rosenthal had to make it dramatic, but whatever.

Keys To The Cubs Winning A Game:

  • Score. (You’d think it’s obvious, but..)
  • Rely on the long ball (Cardinal defense is sharp)
  • Bring the heat (The Cardinals lack in the offense department, so capitalize)
  • Dexter Fowler (He’s your dark horse)

Personally, I think the Cubs screwed up leaving Jake Arrieta in for nine innings in the Wild Card game. They had a lead, the Pirates looked awful, so did he really need to stay in for nine innings? Now he’ll be on short rest for game 3, a big mistake. Know your limits, Cubs. The Dodgers thought Clayton Kershaw would be ready last year, and….

matt adams

Cubs, you had 97 wins, but we had 100. Sometimes, all it takes is three games.

NL Wild Card Prediction

First of all, a huge congratulations to the 2015 St. Louis Cardinals for a fifth straight postseason berth. They are your NL Central Champions!

For now, it’s wild card time. The big game is tomorrow. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the single elimination game format. It can be argued that the game is a tad on the unfair sise because the Cubs and the Pirates both boasted top records for the National League. Why do the Mets get a series when either the Cubs or the Pirates don’t? (The Mets finished 7.0 GB of the Cubs….some food for thought….)

To this I say– DEAL WITH IT. That’s baseball! A lot of the time the best team won’t win the ring. Nobody thought that the 2011 Cardinals were postseason contenders, but, as I never pass up an opportunity to remind everyone…

 2011worldseries

Even so, the Cardinals were the best team in the 2013 regular season. They had the best record, big bats, and a legendary batting average with RISP, and yet, no ring.

There’s only one World Series winner. The Pirates and the Cubs are going to have to fight for their chance.

I predict a pitcher’s duel. Jake Arrieta is having a Cy Young worthy year. He’ll bring the heat for a solid 6 or 7 innings. If there are home runs, and I think a home run will be the deciding run, it will come from a Cub. (My money’s on Castro)

Alternatively, the Pirates are boasting Gerrit Cole. I’d say against the Cardinals, he would do quite fair, but not the Cubs. History has shown us that the Cubs are certainly not clutch in postseason, but this isn’t a series, it’s a single game. Anything goes. The Pirates are going to have to draw some walks and rely on the small ball. If they can work Arrieta’s pitch count early enough, they’ll stand a fighting chance.

As much as it stings me down to my core, I think the Cubs are going to win.

Sheridan’s Keys To The Game:

  • Clutch Factor
  • Bunting (I’m looking at you Cubs)
  • Stolen Fases
  • No HR’s off the Bullpen

Defining ‘The Cardinal Way’

So many things go into the game of baseball, but one thing will always remain– winning and losing. Just like any other sport, teams are defined by their ability to win games. I’m very fortunate to be a fan of the best team in the world, a team that just happens to win the crap out of every season. Now, are the Cardinals a dynasty? That may be a stretch. I’m not blind to the Giants who just won 3 out of 5 years. Still, there’s an underlying secret to the success, the teamwork, that I have previously mentioned. Put a name to it, and it’s ‘The Cardinal Way’.

Let’s define it, shall we? It goes beyond the field. It’s the way that the organization brings a quality product to the fanbase. It stems from all the way up into the ownership of the team to all the way down to the ushers in the parking lot. It’s the total package. ‘The Cardinal Way’ has become something that makes players feel honored to be a part of the St. Louis Cardinals. It’s a value system. The players? Well, they’re just executing that same value system. There is strive for excellence. Every batter up to the box, every throw back to the mound, those ballplayers are striving for excellence.

When you are drafted to the Cardinals, they make sure you know that it isn’t about you. It’s not about each player trying to rack up statistics and score big contracts, it’s about trying to be excellent. Rewards will come with excellence. Rings will come, too.

If you’re ever unsure what ‘The Cardinal Way’ looks like, look up the greats, the Gibson’s and Musial’s of the game. The guys that played for the birds way back in the day had it right. So who’s best exemplifying that same persona now? Personally, I like to look no further than the talented Matt Carpenter.

The Secret to Success

I’m going to be quite honest. If I wasn’t a Cardinals fan, I’d probably hate them. I’d be naïve to think that they’re not one of the most hated teams in baseball. It’s no secret why, either. The Cards are good! They seem to always find a way to win. Why? One word: teamwork.

I realize how cliché that sounds, but it’s true. Baseball is a sport with breakout stars. The Harpers and Stantons of the league are the celebrities of the game. It’s hard not to think of Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, or José Bautista of the Blue Jays, or Nelson Cruz of the Mariners as the faces of their team. They are star players. When they come up to the plate, people expect greatness. More times than not, it is these guys that make the biggest plays and bat the clutch hits.

So, what about the Cardinals? You might say Yadier Molina is the face of the Cardinals, perhaps even Adam Wainwright, but star material? Adam’s out for the season, and even if he was in, he only pitches every five or so days. Yadi is fantastic, but everyone knows his defense is why Matheny plays him. If he bats zero, he’s probably still going to catch.

It’s no singular player; it’s everyone. At any given plate appearance, any one of the Cardinals could have a breakout performance, and they do. That’s their threat. Wong will git a home run one day, Adams the next, then Holliday, and so forth. They function as a team. That’s probably why other teams hate playing them.

.

The Best Record in Modern Franchise History

I CALLED IT!

About two weeks ago, I mentioned that it looked as if the Cardinals were starting to pull away. As of Wednesday, May 6th, the Cardinals are 20-6 and looking to continue the streak with the continuing series against the Cubs.

It’s all about the offense. That is to say, our pitching staff isn’t doing too bad, even with the absence of Wainwright. The Cardinals are actually 8-2 since the departure of our beloved ace. It’s the offense that is winning these games, though. I used to find myself discouraged if the Cardinals started a game down by 4 or 5 runs. Now, I don’t even sweat about it. Finally we have a team that came overcome a deficit! We are scoring runs, tying up games, and hitting those crucial hits for the go-ahead runs.

The Magnificent Marp is red hot. Leading the league in doubles (14) and batting an impressive .346, Matt Carpenter is building his campaign to be the starting 3rd baseman for the All-Star game. Who would’ve thought he’d have 5 home runs in the first month of the season? Certainly not me, but hey, I’m not complaining.

The Cardinals haven’t been a long ball team in recent years, most notably with the absence of big bats such as Albert Pujols. Now with the new bench-fueling bat of Mark Reynolds, the position power from Carpenter, Wong, and Adams, and the impeding strength of Matt Holliday, I see a season of goners for this team. I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Yes, it’s a record-breaking season already. The 19-6 record marked the best record in modern franchise history for the birds, and each subsequent win tallies a new record for the amount of games to start off a season. Coming off a triple walk-off sweep of an inner-division Pirates team, there is no stopping the fire that the Cardinals have.

They’re in it to win it!

#12in15