After two successful series wins, the St. Louis Cardinals all-time dream team was knocked out in a Game 7, extra-innings series finale against the Cincinnati Reds. Now, let’s hope this isn’t a precursor of what is to come in 2020.
The MLB Dream Bracket has just moved into the semifinal stage (equivalent to Championship Series) and unfortunately the St. Louis Cardinals lost to the Cincinnati Reds in an extra-innings Game 7 after victories over the Rockies and the Phillies.
After the season was delayed and real baseball was temporarily put on hold, the guys over at MLB decided to create a dream bracket. This contained all 30 MLB teams plus two bonus teams, namely a Negro Leagues team in the AL and a current 25’s and under team in the NL.
The games have been simulated on Out of the Park Baseball 21, which is one the most realistic baseball strategy game on the market, and each team’s roster consists of what MLB believes to be their all-time dream team.
The bracket was set up with the St. Louis Cardinals starting off with a seven games series against the Colorado Rockies, followed by either the Philadelphia Phillies or the wildcard 25 and under team. Fortunately for the Redbirds, they managed to stay on the opposite side of the bracket of the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, and Chicago Cubs!
Now taking a look at the Cardinals roster, full rosters for all 32 teams can be found on the MLB site here, you’ll see a mouthwatering combination of Cardinal greats. With a total of nine Hall of Famers plus an additional three to four who should make it in sometime in the future, this is a star-studded team. In this OOTP sim it was decided a DH would be implemented across both the AL and NL, so the lineup for the Cardinals overall looked very strong.
The only current player in the lineup is Yadier Molina who is behind the plate and has a real case to add to the total number of Hall of Famers in the future. The infield then has five World Series rings to their names in Albert Pujols, Rogers Hornsby, Scott Rolen and Ozzie Smith. Plus an outfield and DH combination of Joe Medwick, Jim Edmonds, Stan Musial, and Mark McGwire means the lineup offers the St. Louis Cardinals a total of 91 All-Star appearances, 41 Gold Gloves, and nine MVPs. Absolutely filthy!
The pitching staff doesn’t lack any run prevention either with a starting rotation to choose from Bob Gibson, Dizzy Dean, Mort Cooper, Chris Carpenter, Jesse Haines, Adam Wainwright, and Harry Brecheen boasting three MVPs, three Cy Youngs and a combined 12 World Series rings. The relievers continue the pitching onslaught with Jason Isringhausen, Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter and Al Hrabosky finishing up the roster.
With the lineup all set, it was time to welcome the Colorado Rockies to Busch Busch Stadium for a seven-game series
Considering the Rockies have not won a World Series, have made just five playoff appearances and the Cardinal bench had more Hall of Famers than the entire Rockies roster (to be fair, with a bench of Red Schoendienst, Lou Brock, Willie McGee, Enos Slaughter, Ken Boyer and Ted Simmons that was quite an unfair challenge): this series was tighter than expected!
The Rockies took the series to a sixth game, including three games that required extra innings. Eventually, it was a Stan Musial sacrifice fly to center field after a Rolen leadoff walk and Hornsby double that gave the Redbirds the lead in the top of the 12. Brecheen was able then to close out with another scoreless inning meaning he finished the game with the W after three and two-thirds innings with only one hit allowed.
The key performers from the series were Joe Medwick with four RBI, one homer, and a .417 batting average.Rogers Hornsby also had nine hits & two homers at the plate. On the pitching front, Waino performed well with a 6.2 inning outing and only one earned run allowed and Chris Carpenter struck out seven in his 8.1 inning outing with only one ER allowed.
Next matchup, the St. Louis Cardinals head to Citizen Bank Park
The Phills started off well, routing the Cardinals in the top of the 11th in Game 1. Brecheen struggled in the 11th and walked in the go-ahead run, then allowed three more runs before being pulled and taking the L.
The Cardinals though fought back in game two, scoring nine runs in the bottom of the eight with home runs from Medwick and Edmonds. After winning games three and four back in the Lou, and so taking a dominant 3-1 series lead, the Redbirds lost a Bob Gibson start in Game 5 which meant a Game 6 back in Philly.
What a Game 6 it was, Jim Edmonds started things off well with a solo homer in the second and then Hornsbury hit a two-out, RBI in the bottom of the eighth to pull the Cards back into contention at 3-2 down. Brecheen allowed two hits and struck out one, without allowing a runner to score meaning the Cards were 3-2 down going into the bottom of the ninth.
Pujols started the inning off with a leadoff walk, then the Phillies brought in Curt Schilling who struck out the heart of the Cardinals order in Medwick & McGwire. This left Jim Edmonds as the final out before a deciding game seven. Edmonds worked his at-bat to a 3-2 count, then destroyed a two-run, walk-off homer to deep right field and took the Cardinals into the quarter-finals (NLDS equivalent) and a series with divisional rivals Cincinnati Reds.
Mort Cooper was exceptional in this series, lowering his ERA to 0.51 over seven games and McGwire had a much needed, strong series with eight hits and three RBI to add to his name.
The Redbirds take on the Big Red Machine
With the winner of this series matchup taking on either the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Milwaukee Brewers, this was always going to be an exciting series. It did not disappoint. It took seven games, four of which were decided by only one run and game seven went down to the 12th innings.
The series started off well with the Cardinals taking a 2-0 series lead at Busch. Game one was thanks to a good outing from Bob Gibson and Bruce Sutter’s safe closing. Then the St. Louis Cardinals extended their series lead with a Stan Musial walk-off double off of Aroldis Chapman in Game 2.
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Then as the series headed to Cincinnati, the Reds took over and took a strong 3-2 series lead. They walked the Cardinals off in game three against Bruce Sutter, and then their offense prevailed in Games 4 and 5 which gave them the lead heading back to St. Louis.
With the matchup now in Missouri, a pitching duel was key to the Cardinals’ win in Game 6. Dizzy Dean hurled six scoreless innings and had run support from Musial and Medwick to win the game 2-1 and set up a thrilling Game 7 to decide who would progress.
The Reds blew a three-run lead in this game which they took in the top of the second. A Simmons homer in the third gave the Cardinals life and it was in the sixth inning that the comeback was completed. A Pujols RBI single and a Medwick RBI double scored two runners and evened the game out at three runs each. The game stayed close for the remaining regular game innings and stretched into the tenth, 11th and into the 12th.
It was in the top of the 12th where the deadlock was broken, and unfortunately for Cardinals fans, it was by a George Foster home run off of Jason Isringhausen to give the Reds a one-run advantage. Cincinnati’s John Franco then saw out the bottom of the 12th with Ted Simmons and Scott Rolen flying out, then Enos Slaughter grounded out to close out the series and the Cardinals run in the MLB dream bracket.
It was a lot of fun following the team through the bracket and although not quite real baseball, it was certainly better than nothing at all and helped passed some of my lockdown in the UK!