I’m a Cubs fan, and I’ve resigned myself to being nothing more than a spectator at this time of year. But I spotted something in Game five of this year’s NLDS, and I think it bodes very well for the Cardinals postseason as they get ready to take on the LA Dodgers for the National League pennant.
Let’s start with 2011.
The Cardinals postseason continued by the skin of their teeth, and from there they went on an improbable run to the World Series. But in the NLDS, with the series tied at two games each, they gave the ball to Chris Carpenter, and he allowed the Phillies only three hits as he went the distance. Simply put, the Cardinals rode Carpenter to a series win and into the next round of the playoffs.
If 2011 was the Game five lockdown, 2012 was the year of the miracle comeback against the Nationals and closer Drew Storen. Hitters like Daniel Descalso, David Freese and Pete Kozma were the heroes last year, not the starting pitcher, Adam Wainwright.
As stunning as the comeback last year was, it did not translate into a World Series appearance for the Cardinals postseason. They proved, on some level, that it’s better to pitch from the lead and keep the opposition off base as much as possible.
Wainwright’s performance last night, where he led the Pirates throughout, was closer to Carpenter 2011 than it was to Wainwright 2012. Hopefully for the Cardinals’ sake, that’s a sign of better days ahead in the NLCS and possibly the World Series, as well.