St. Louis Cardinals: An NLCS exit is nothing to be angry about
By Matt Graves
While it’s disappointing to see how the St. Louis Cardinals exited the playoffs, there isn’t anything to be angry about with the team’s body of work.
So the St. Louis Cardinals have joined the rest of the 26 teams who have entered the offseason after their exit in the NLCS. It was not an easy way to exit either.
Getting swept in any postseason series can be painful and the four games the Cardinals just played take the cake for the worst series the Cardinals have had in a long time.
Over the four losses, the Cardinals mustered just six total runs. That was with their four-run “offensive explosion” in Game 4. With those six runs, there were just 16 hits and a whopping 48 strikeouts.
This series really showcased the worst of the worst of what we saw as fans from the offense all year. There were stretches in 2019 when the Cardinals would fall in a slump like this. There were also times where the offense was explosive. The problem is strictly timing. The obvious dichotomy here is that the superb Nationals pitching made the offensive slump a lot easier to keep up.
The pain is still fresh from their loss on Tuesday night that I think we all saw coming. After losing three straight games, there really wasn’t hope that they’d come back. If I’m honest, I would almost rather they get swept and rip off the bandaid. I may be in the minority there, but that’s how I feel.
So we can finally shut the door on 2019 and while emotions are still raw now, I believe that in a couple of weeks, the pain of how the season ended will fade and we will be able to see this season for what it was: a resounding success.
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There was plenty to be frustrated about, but if you would’ve told anyone in Spring Training or at the All-Star break, or even at the beginning of September that this team would make it to the NLCS, they would be happy. The problems with this team are numerous and clear, mostly centered around the offense, but the strengths this year can very well be strengths again next year.
The vast majority of the Cardinals’ pitching staff is still young and controllable. Ace Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson will look to continue to grow in 2020. Giovanny Gallegos and the John duo of Brebbia and Gant are all going to be back. Carlos Martinez, regardless of what role he ends up in, will also still be here.
On the offensive side, breakout years from Kolten Wong and Tommy Edman will be back and there are lots of other places the team can look to improve. There aren’t many free agents leaving so there is a very good chance that the Cardinals are still going to be very competitive in 2020.
The simple truth is that the 2019 season was one where the obviously flawed Cardinals maximized their situation in the NL Central and edge out an NLDS victory to get to the NLCS.
2019 is a year that fans can be proud of in that the Cardinals that made it back to the postseason and saw some surprises but with some clear deficiencies. The question now is how well the front office can try and keep improving strengths and cover weaknesses before 2020.
There’s no reason to be angry about 2019 any longer, now you can just be angry about what the front office does or doesn’t do this offseason.
We will have more 2019 season breakdowns coming up, but this is your postseason wrap up. This was an awful showing for this team in the NLCS, but the result is the same as if they had lost in seven games. A disappointing exit doesn’t change the overall success of the year, the Cardinals just met their match. Go Yankees.