The St. Louis Cardinals may get eliminated in the Wild Card Game in what looks like an extremely tough matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
They may advance to the World Series and win it all.
We don’t know what’s going to happen with the Cards, but they sure are breaking their fellow contenders’ souls in the National League Wild Card race.
Imagine being the Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, or even the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, or New York Mets.
Imagine feeling you have to win every game because, well, the team in possession of the last spot for the postseason is essentially winning every game.
St. Louis, before Friday’s early game against the Chicago Cubs, had won 12 straight to separate itself from the pack of teams competing for the Wild Card.
An Impressive Streak Of Wins
At the moment, the Cards are 83-69, 4.5 games ahead of the Phillies for that second Wild Card berth.
You could very much say that the Cards’ winning streak was heartbreaking for a lot of teams in the NL.
The Mets were leaders in their division for months, while the Reds and Padres both held the second Wild Card for stretches recently.
St. Louis trumped them all with their stellar play in September.
A full 162-game MLB season is full of peaks and valleys for almost every organization.
The Cards, however, peaked at the right time.
This is a team that was playing .500 ball the day of the trade deadline: July 30.
Even on August 15, St. Louis was 61-56, or 4.5 games behind the Padres for the second Wild Card.
What they didn’t know is that St. Louis is a great place for pitchers, and has been that way for a long time.
Lester, after putting up a 3-5 record with a 5.02 ERA with the Washington Nationals, has a 4.02 and a 4-1 record in St. Louis.
Happ had a horrible 6.77 ERA in Minnesota, but since coming to St. Louis the number is a much better 3.97.
We don’t have to tell you how good Adam Wainwright has looked this year at the top of the rotation.
The 39-year-old has a 3.05 ERA in 200.1 innings, with a team-leading 3.8 Wins Above Replacement (WAR).
Other veterans are responding, but with the bat.
Arenado is hitting .256/.312/.500 with 33 home runs and his usual stellar defense at third base.
Goldy is at .291/.362/.508, with 29 blasts and 12 thefts.
Paul Goldschmidt – St. Louis Cardinals (30) pic.twitter.com/7OTewI0BDA
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) September 24, 2021
St. Louis, however, wouldn’t be where it is without Tyler O’Neill’s breakout year: .279/.349/.533 with 29 round-trippers and 12 steals.
All in all, St. Louis is showing that the right combination of young players and veterans can thrive.
Fans are buying the team’s surge, too.
Adam Wainwright to you, fans of the St. Louis Cardinals:
"I know that we played some wretched ball throughout this year … Thanks for sticking with us, too. I know it’s been frustrating. We’ve been frustrating for you, but we love you. Glad you’re back." pic.twitter.com/HWvIHF0COy
— Zachary Silver (@zachsilver) September 19, 2021
They are crushing souls in the NL, and the best may be yet to come.