Our very own St. Louis Cardinals are making history once again, folks. Never in the modern era has a major league club defended their championship with such vigor. Heading into this weekend series with the Pittsburgh Pirates the Birds have won their first five series (if you count the 1 game series with the Miami Marlins) of the young season.
To put this into some context in the previous 10 seasons after a Cardinals World Championship only one of those clubs won their first series the next season. No pressure on the champ, right? The only Redbird team to win their first series of their defense was the 1968 club. The Cards are trying to get one more monkey off their back here as well. None of the other 10 championship teams were able to repeat the feat of winning the championship the following year.
Our Redbirds have set a standard that no other team has been able to come close to, and may never again. If you look at each playoff round as a series and the miraculous run at the end of the season the Cards have won 15 consecutive series.
This is a miraculous accomplishment. It is impressive to say the least especially when you look at the load the meat wagon has had to handle with all of the injuries and other maladies:
- Staff ace Chris Carpenter is on the shelf. His replacement Lance Lynn has performed remarkably in his stead
- Skip Schumaker is dinged up
- Lance Berkman has a bum wheel
- Jon Jay is banged up and headed back to St. Louis for evaluation
- Matt Holliday is in what can tacitly be defined as a slump (below .200 and more K’s 13 than hits)
- Adam Wainwright is struggling
Thank goodness the other Cards have stepped up and played like the champs they are. Hot-shot youngster Matt Carpenter has been a stud. His play has allowed Berkman to attempt to mend and allowed the Cards to place him on the DL to do so. I am glad to see Carpenter’s hitting has stood out more than his gloveless plate appearances.
The only person I am not remotely concerned about in the above list is Holliday. Hitters hit. Unfortunately when they don’t, they don’t. We have seen this before with all sluggers. Including that guy that we don’t really seem to be missing from last year. He will come around. He seems to be having some solid plate appearances. This writer thinks he has been hosed on a few calls, but that is beside the point.
The Cardinals are winning without some of their most integral pieces in place. Wainwright will be fine also. This is a marathon not a sprint. The season is young, but I will gladly tout the success of this club.
I have gone out of my way to not mention our former first baseman by name as much as possible in these posts. I am still bitter about how things went down. I had a great discussion in the men’s room of a bar/restaurant on the River Walk in San Antonio this past week that forced me to put some things in perspective. He was obviously a Texas Rangers fan and I had a Cardinals shirt on so that sparked a conversation about the World Series. He asked me how I felt about losing Albert. I took a few seconds to collect myself because I knew where this was going.
I replied it sucks losing one of the greatest to ever play the game. Even though he doesn’t look like it now he will be a star for them (unless my secret wishes that I won’t reveal here come true). I told him that I felt that right now we are a better team without him. He looked at me like I had three heads. I further broke it down for my new friend. We have a new manager. He could have screwed that dynamic up if he didn’t agree because after Tony La Russa left, it would have been his clubhouse. He would have had a new contract and he would be pushing as hard and not performing for us right now. As Albert went so did our team. So if he was struggling we would not be in the situation we are now. This team has had to band together to put wins together. I don’t think the acquisitions GM John Mozeliak was able to make would have happened without his departure (namely losing Yadier Molina after this season due to a depleted piggy bank).
He replied that he hadn’t thought of it that way. He figured we would be crushed as fans and that his Rangers would wipe the floor with us on a rematch this year. I replied not if David Freese has anything to say about it. Thanks for the mint.
This Cardinal team, with all of the issues and obstacles they face are making history again. They also have a little to live up to now as well. Of the eight previous Cardinal squads that started the season 9-3, five went on to win the World Series. How about that Cardinal Nation? I think that is sure something for us to look forward to and hold up to get us through this rocky patch. Although I am not sure most clubs would consider this a rocky patch, minus some of the marquee player injuries. This team is fun to watch and I look forward to seeing them chase down the little bits of history along the way this season. Can they become the sixth team to start 9-3 and win it all?