The Cardinals Did That 'One Strike Away' Thing Again
Ever since spring training, various voices on the St Louis Cardinals have made no secret about wanting a return match in October against the long-time rival Chicago Cubs.
There's no doubt the Fuzzies will be there, and with a few former Redbirds in their camp.
The issue is whether or not St Louis finds a way to get their wish.
If a dramatic moment was needed to spark their charge to the playoffs, it may have happend to St Louis last night in Pittsburgh.
Then, this happened:
The Cardinals have been here before.
In Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, David Freese was down to his last strike in both the ninth and eleventh innings:
In recent times, the mandate given to Cardinals scouts is to listen to bat contact before considering anything else in a hitter. If it sounds more solid than anyone else's in a given game, they've found a prospect.
It's the anti-stat, but it's also transformed St Louis into one of the game's most powerful offenses:
- They currently lead the NL in home runs with 201 but don't have anyone in the leagues Top 30 thumpers;
- Jedd Gyorko is their top bopper -- with 26 -- pacing nine Cardinals who have at least 11 homers;
- Carpenter's blast was the team's 15th pinch-hit bomb this seson, a major league record; and
- The longball barrage extended the Cardinals' consecutive games going yard streak to 24, one away from the major league record.
Barring a miracle, the 9-6 shock ending in this one virtually eliminated the Pirates from Wild Card contention, putting an exclamation point on their current losing streak.
And Miami's activation of resident he-man Giancarlo Stanton is too little, too late.
With San Francisco hanging on for dear life -- the Giants own baseball's worst record since the All-Star break -- St Louis probably needs only to play .500 ball for the rest of the month to be one of the three remaining clubs with a realistic shot at a Wild Card slot.
The Cardinals started their charge to the 2011 World Series as a Wild Card team. It set the stage for a dream finish.
That was a loftier goal than their spring training wish for this year, but déjà vu won't happen unless they get their spring training wish for this year.
And the Cubs are as ready as they've been in 108 years.