Good, Bad and Ugly of 2022 St. Louis Cardinals season
The Cardinals’ season didn’t have a storybook ending. But it had its magical moments, and for that, fans should have some feeling of gratitude.
It’s hard to believe the St. Louis Cardinals season has ended. That sweep at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies was not how the legendary careers of Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols were to end. That was not why Albert Pujols returned after a decade away to win a championship.
The Cardinals lost Friday’s game 6-3 after a disastrous ninth inning and couldn’t muster any offense in Saturday’s game, losing 2-0. The Cardinals were the NL Central champs and couldn’t scratch a victory over the Wild Card Phillies.
The Cardinals now head into an offseason with more questions than answers. But it will take some time to get over a disappointing end to such a magical season.
Let’s reflect on the 2022 season.
The Good: The Cardinals made history with first-year manager
Oli Marmol took over a very talented St. Louis Cardinals team. The Cardinals fired Mike Shildt due to “philosophical differences” but chose to have some coaching consistency in hiring Marmol, who was Shildt’s bench coach. The team loves Marmol, who also had a good working relationship with the coaching staff.
While the end of the season saw flare-ups of old issues, the season itself was magical.
Albert Pujols returned after a decade away to end his career where it started. Although many thought it was a neat story, it wasn’t believed he would have that big an impact. That was so wrong. He had a .270 average with 24 home runs and 68 RBI. He ended his legendary career with 703 home runs and 2,218 RBI. He is the greatest hitter of his generation. He is a living legend. It’s good that he got a hit in his last at-bat. There just should have been more.
Yadier Molina is the greatest catcher of his generation and spent his entire 19-year career in a Cardinals’ uniform. Just amazing in the age of free agency. He and Adam Wainwright combined for a record 328 starts, making them the MLB career leaders as a batter. They passed Micky Lolich and Bill Freehan of the Detroit Tigers. It feels safe to say that record will never be approached.
Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado took a back seat to these legends while having MVP seasons. Arenado had an OPS of .891 while hitting 30 home runs and 103 RBI. He had spectacular plays on a nightly basis defending the hot corner. Goldschmidt had an OPS of .982 with 35 home runs and 115 RBI. He was so clutch for the Cardinals.
The pitching staff was boosted at the trade deadline with the acquisition of Jordan Montgomery and Jose Quintana. Even the bullpen improved over the last season.
Things were good until they weren’t.