The St. Louis Cardinals entered the 2012 postseason with a chance to defend their World Series title and repeat the success of a year ago. Yet the Cardinals, just like last postseason, entered the playoffs as underdogs. Many people picked the Nationals to win the NL title, yet the team with the NL’s best regular-season record trails in the NLDS 2-1 after St. Louis’ 8-0 shutout on Wednesday.
I bet if the Cardinals hold on to beat the Nationals and make it to the NLCS or World Series, they’ll be underdogs there as well. The Cards are a classic underdog, and I think they do best when in the underdog role. Here are a few reasons the Cards should be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs:
- The Cardinals have the most playoff experience of all teams (besides maybe the Yankees) and are fresh off an amazing postseason run last year. They’ve played in these pressure types games before, and I think that gives them a little advantage over the teams they face, especially the Nationals.
- The Cards have one of the best, if not the best, offenses in the 2012 postseason. The Cards finished the year with a team batting average of .271 and 159 home runs. With guys like Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, Allen Craig, Yadier Molina, and David Freese in your lineup. You’ve always got a chance to put up a bunch of runs. Case in point, the Cards have outscored the Nationals 20-4 in their two victories.
- These are the comeback Cardinals we’re talking about. The team that came back in September last year, that took out the Phillies, Brewers and Rangers. They know how to perform in the clutch, which sort of goes back to the experience thing, but they’ve been in situations where they’ve been one strike away from elimination. They don’t waver; they always find a way to come back. They’ve also got a solid starting rotation that includes Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, who is one of the best postseason pitchers of the past decade, showing how much of a gamer he is with 5.2 shutout innings on Wednesday.
This is a team that knows how to get the job done. So don’t be surprised if it’s another red October with the Cardinals winning title number 12.