Cardinals play-by-play man Mike Shannon proclaimed last night “rookies night” after outfielders Tommy Pham and Stephen Piscotty each went deep in the eighth inning of last night’s NLDS victory. Their heroics underscore the difference between the Cardinal way and the Cubs way.
Both teams have great histories, but the Cubs’ backstory comes with a lot of static. The whole billygoat thing. TheTommy Pham
(60) will probably impress more this postseason. Cardinal rookies always do. Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
Wrigley Field bleachers. The franchise’s own Voldemort (“He who must not be named”), Steve Bartman. So it’s no surprise plenty of noise surrounded a trio of Cubs rookies entering the NLDS. They deserved it. Collectively and individually, they had very good regular seasons, so it made sense that plenty of talking heads and fans insisted that the postseason stage belonged to Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell.
Not so fast my friends.
All Piscotty and Pham did was follow a long legacy of Cardinal rookies, who came into their first postseason game and got the job done. Last year, Kolten Wong (1.149 OPS in the LCS) and Oscar Taveras (1.286 OPS in 7 playoff at bats) proved their mettle. The year before, Trevor Rosenthal (0.00 ERA in 11.2 innings) and Kevin Siegrist (3.00 ERA in 6 innings) bolstered a strong bullpen that helped the Cards win it all.
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This legacy of playoff excellence by rookies goes back much further. Last night, Pham and Piscotty joined George Watkins (1930), Shannon (1964) and Randal Grichuk (2014) as Cardinals rookies to homer in their first postseason game.
This history — a quieter and more fruitful history than anything the Cubs have — is why Cardinals fans can expect more than just a lot of noise from Piscotty and Pham. They can expect results.