It’s the time of year when people count down to their favorite things that happened over the year, best moments, etc. The December project for the United Cardinal Bloggers is the top 5 stories of the year for the St. Louis Cardinals.
There are several that stand out and then there are those that it’s hard to pick and choose.
During the first half of the season, Lance Lynn filled a huge role in the pitching rotation when it appeared that Chris Carpenter was gone for the season. From April through July, Lynn had a win-loss record of 13-4 and was selected to appear in the 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City. Lynn suffered in the second half of the season and during the postseason but he came through big in the first half.
Trevor Rosenthal did not pitch much this season. He through 22.2 innings during the regular season and 8.2 in the postseason. However, he was one of the hardest throwing pitchers and did so consistently. I don’t know whether he will start in the rotation or come out from the bullpen in the future but Rosenthal impressed many Cardinal fans this season with that arm of his. I look forward to seeing more of him next season.
Shelby Miller, the Cardinals top prospect in 2011, pitched in 6 games during the regular season but it was what he did in the last game that really left me impressed. For all of what happened as he adjusted to Triple A in Memphis this season, Miller showed why he was the top prospect in the organization. In 6 innings against the Cincinnati Reds, Miller struck out 7 batters and only gave up one hit. Miller had a no-hit bid going until giving up a single to Wilson Valdez.
Chris Carpenter was out for much of the season. He even had surgery to remove a rib. He came back to pitch two games in September and another game in October. That’s 3 games in the regular season. Carp would pitch 3 more games in the postseason. I don’t know what else you can say about the man after what he went through this season.
Last but not least, Game 5 of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals. It’s one of the best birthday presents that I could ever recall. Adam Wainwright had a short leash that night, giving up 6 runs before being replaced by Joe Kelly in the bottom of the third. The Cardinals showed some of that 2011 magic and did not leave without a fight. They battled back. Matt Holliday doubled in Carlos Beltran in the 4th. Daniel Descalso scored on a wild pitch in the 5th. Shane Robinson scored on a walk in the 5th and just like that, it’s a 6-3 Nationals lead. In the 7th, Jon Jay walks, Carlos Beltran doubles, but Jay scored on a weak groundout by Matt Holliday to bring the score to 6-4. In the 8th inning, Daniel Descalso hits a home run and the Cardinals are now down 6-5 at this point. Jason Motte comes in to pitch the bottom of the 8th only to see the one-run deficit become two runs. In the top of the 9th, down to the last strike a few times, the Cardinals battled back to score 4 runs. Motte pitches a 1-2-3 9th inning and the Cardinals win the game 9-7 over the Nationals and fly west to San Francisco for the NLCS.
My top stories do not include one of my best Cardinals game experiences on August 14th. I was able to meet both Derrick Goold and Rick Hummel before the game. After the game, I was able to meet Mike Shannon. To top it off, the Cardinals won that game.
Have a happy new year and see you in 2013!