The St. Louis Cardinals have won the division for the first time since 2015. Let’s look at why this is so important and soak in all the fun.
Sunday was a great day for fans of the St. Louis Cardinals. As we all knew the whole time without any doubts, the division was there for the Cardinals to take it and they did so for the first time since 2015.
There were many times in the past five months when I was not alone in doubting that the Cardinals would even capture a playoff spot let alone win the division. Winning the division was huge for so many reasons and it’s always crazy how these things shake out.
In all honesty, the Brewers could’ve very well stolen the division from the Cardinals this weekend. The Cardinals lost the first two games of the series to the Cubs B-team lineup and were setting themselves up for failure. Credit is due to Mike Shildt and the managerial staff for rearranging the rotation to be able to have Jack Flaherty available for Sunday.
Flaherty showed the rest of the team how the series should’ve gone on Sunday with a nearly-unhittable performance going 7.0 innings with six strikeouts allowing just two hits. While fans were confident with Flaherty pitching Sunday, it’s impossible to say that you weren’t at least a little nervous after the inconsistency earlier in the series.
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Flaherty stepped up when the team needed him most and the Cardinals backed him with runs to fly back into the playoff picture with a division title for the first time in three years.
Back to the Brewers, after winning seven straight games and cutting the Cardinals lead to just 1.0 game, the Brewers went into Coors Field on Friday with all the confidence in the world. They seemed to finally remember they didn’t have Christian Yelich though as the Rockies completed a three-game sweep of the Wild Card team. There was certainly some luck there but it goes to show how erratic playing at Coor can be.
In all, the Cardinals finished 2.0 games up on the Brewers and ended up being the ones celebrating on Sunday. Many fans of other teams made fun of the way the Cardinals celebrated clinching a postseason spot but all Cardinals fans knew why they were so tame then: it wasn’t the ultimate goal.
Sunday saw the Cardinals party just as much as any other team because they finally got what they truly were after.
Mike Shildt’s leadership on this team is clear and while I still have gripes with lineup decisions, he is a great fit for this team. There are too many celebration videos to fit in one article so if you want to see more of the fun that was had Sunday, check out Fox Sports Midwest on twitter for the best coverage.
As a result of winning the division, the Cardinals are now in a much better spot for the whole postseason. While needing Flaherty on Sunday takes him out of the consideration for NLDS Game 1, it’s much better to face the Braves in the NLDS than having to get through Max Scherzer and the Nationals in the Wild Card game just to have an opportunity to play the Dodgers.
More pre-NLDS coverage is coming in the next couple of days, but the fans and the Cardinals have a few days now to relax and soak in what ended up being a great season even with all its ups and downs.
It might’ve been gloomy at times, but the St. Louis Cardinals are back in the postseason and back to the top of the NL Central. They have just as much of a chance to win it all now as any other team and there is plenty more fun to be had. For now, the book can be closed on the 2019 Regular Season with your hometown NL Central champs.