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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Three Reasons the Surging Cardinals Can Win the World Series

Baseball’s closest division race is on the final stretch, with the Cardinals (90-68) all but officially taking home their first NL Central crown since 2015. Entering play Wednesday, St. Louis’ magic number to clinch the division is three, and Fangraphs giving the Cards a 93% chance to win the Central. They’ve gone from postseason afterthought to legitimate World Series contenders in less than two months. Here’s the case for the Cardinals to win their 12th Fall Classic.

1. Formidable Starting Pitching

The Cardinals lost five of their six games in the first week after the trade deadline and went from first to third place in the NL Central. Playoff prospects fading, their decision not to acquire an impact starting pitcher at the end of July was looking even more like a failure. However, in the 44 games since, St. Louis starters have posted an MLB-best 2.69 ERA, with a formidable rotation trio emerging in the process.

Jack Flaherty has emerged as one of baseball’s best pitchers, and his 0.97 second-half ERA ranks first in the majors among qualified starters. In his four starts this season against the Braves and Dodgers—assumed to be the two leading contenders to win the pennant—Flaherty is 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA and 31 strikeouts over 25 innings. The only run he’s allowed against L.A. this year came on a Joc Pederson solo home run, and he’s struck out 18 Dodgers hitters and walked just one. Overall, Flaherty is 10-8 with a 2.85 ERA, a 0.988 WHIP and 225 strikeouts across 189 ⅓ innings this season.

 

QLE Posted: September 26, 2019 at 12:30 AM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, playoffs, world series

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   1. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 26, 2019 at 12:50 AM (#5883191)
“Surging”?
   2. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: September 26, 2019 at 01:05 AM (#5883192)
Crew has allowed 68 runs in 23 games in September which is less than 3 per game. And along with Hader Drew Pomeranz has struck out 41 guys in 24 innings with Brewers. The bullpen has really pulled it together this month.

Cards are good, sure. But if Milwaukee finds itself going head to head with St Louis I don't think it's any kind of mismatch.
   3. SoSH U at work Posted: September 26, 2019 at 01:14 AM (#5883194)
But what about their Top 4?

   4. Bote Man sez Davey is MoY Posted: September 26, 2019 at 02:28 AM (#5883199)
1) NLDS
2) NLCS
3) World Series
   5. TomH Posted: September 26, 2019 at 06:13 AM (#5883205)
The article concludes: In summary: St. Louis has both a deep rotation and a shutdown bullpen. If the Cardinals’ offense performs like it has throughout the second half, they have the pitching and defense to win their 12th World Series ring.
--
The facts are stubbborn things tho:
1.
Team ERA
Dodgers 3.44
Cards 3.80
Braves 4.18.
Okay, so StL is good at preventing runs, but LA appears to be a lot better.
2.
Team OPS
Dodgers 811
Braves 791
Cards 735
Ouch.
All right, what if we only use the 2nd half stats?
Dodgers 815
Braves 779
Cards 754
Hmm.. less bad.

Three reasons the Cards could win: Short series, short series, short series.
   6. The Duke Posted: September 26, 2019 at 08:09 AM (#5883214)
The cardinals may not even win their division and would be huge underdogs against Mad Max in the pre-playoff game. What the brewers are doing is amazing - especially without yelich. Doubtful they can replicate against playoff teams but what a run.
   7. salvomania Posted: September 26, 2019 at 11:22 AM (#5883277)
underdogs against Mad Max in the pre-playoff game

Cards own Max.
   8. Baldrick Posted: September 26, 2019 at 11:33 AM (#5883283)
1. The playoffs are pretty random, so any team that makes the playoffs can win the World Series
2. The Cardinals have made the playoffs
3. Black magic
   9. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 26, 2019 at 01:12 PM (#5883307)
The cardinals may not even win their division and would be huge underdogs against Mad Max in the pre-playoff game.
Scherzer may pitch Sunday if a win would give Washington home-field-advantage in the Wildcard, leaving Stephen Strasburg to start the actual play-in game. It’s a tough choice, but HFA may be worth it.
   10. Zonk is not as Outlandish as he could be Posted: September 26, 2019 at 01:16 PM (#5883310)
Would the Brewers like the Cubs to do them a favor?
   11. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: September 26, 2019 at 01:36 PM (#5883317)
Its a crap shoot and anyone who makes it in can win.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: September 26, 2019 at 02:29 PM (#5883340)
Scherzer may pitch Sunday if a win would give Washington home-field-advantage in the Wildcard, leaving Stephen Strasburg to start the actual play-in game. It’s a tough choice, but HFA may be worth it.


I can't imagine any team would do that. Teams didn't care that much about HFA when it was the division vs. wild card, and that usually had more value than WC1 or WC2.
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 26, 2019 at 02:42 PM (#5883344)
Brewers are 49-32 at home, only 39-38 on the road, and perhaps more importantly, Scherzer has a 5.16 ERA in September (coming back from injury), while Strasburg is at 2.63. Strasburg at home may be the Nationals best chance to advance, so holding Scherzer in reserve for a road game they don’t want to play may not be that appealing.
   14. PreservedFish Posted: September 26, 2019 at 02:59 PM (#5883352)
huge underdogs against Mad Max in the pre-playoff game


So they'd have, what, a 46% chance of winning? Yeah, they're screwed.
   15. Bote Man sez Davey is MoY Posted: September 26, 2019 at 03:23 PM (#5883375)
Cards own Max.

Max Scherzer has not been MAX SCHERZER since coming back from his I.L. stint for back muscle problems. He's still a formidable pitcher, no question, but he hasn't gone deeper than 109 pitches at the most since coming back, that was on 18 Sept in St. Louis (6.2 innings pitched in a 5-1 loss). In his most recent start he went 101 pitches against Philly on Tuesday (6 innings pitched in a 6-5 squeaker win), when he gave up that 3-run dinger in a shaky 1st inning which is uncharacteristic of him; typically his home runs surrendered are of the solo variety in the 3rd to 5th inning, then he turns into the Tasmanian Devil on the mound in the late innings. We haven't seen that yet.

So if Max does start he Wild Card game, after the 5th inning it becomes an inexorable slide down that gravel slope into the depths of the Nats' bullpen and you know how that sad story ends.
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: September 26, 2019 at 03:41 PM (#5883391)
Brewers are 49-32 at home, only 39-38 on the road, and perhaps more importantly, Scherzer has a 5.16 ERA in September (coming back from injury), while Strasburg is at 2.63. Strasburg at home may be the Nationals best chance to advance, so holding Scherzer in reserve for a road game they don’t want to play may not be that appealing.


If you think Strasburg is the best choice to start the WC game, so be it. But teams have clearly shown how little they value HFA over having their preferred rotation set-up for the postseason since the start of the WC era, do I doubt that will play a part in Washington's decision making.
   17. TJ Posted: September 26, 2019 at 04:15 PM (#5883410)
After 2006 anything is possible...
   18. phredbird Posted: September 26, 2019 at 04:27 PM (#5883415)

i'm very conflicted.

if someone had told me at the beginning of the season that we'd be in the playoffs for sure, and in position to take the division outright in the last week of the season, i would have scoffed a little.

so ... this is gravy.

that said, this last couple of games against the d-backs have me feeling pretty pessimistic. the shocking streakiness of the offense just does not inspire confidence, and as good as the bullpen has been, shilldtt has shown a propensity for finding the one guy who'll throw gasoline on the fire, it's almost become a talent of his.

we're about to blow the division, and a play-in game is such a crapshoot. i mean, look what happened tuesday. a 7-inning one-hit effort from flaherty, and we lost the game.

it's going to be a real ##### if we're stuck in the play-in and this kind of scenario is repeated ...

   19. Walt Davis Posted: September 26, 2019 at 06:01 PM (#5883446)
we're about to blow the division

I was in your shoes last year so I understand the feeling but the Cards aren't "blowing" anything. They won 7 of their last 10, including of course the sweep of the Cubs. It's just that the Brewers have won 9 of 10. The Cards have played solid 600 ball in Sept (15-10); the Brewers have gone 20-4.

The Brewers went 9-10 against the Cards; 10-9 against the Cubs; and just 11-8 against the Reds; ... 15-4 against the Pirates. The Cards did drop 2 of 3 to the Brewers at home which would have pretty much sealed things otherwise.
   20. phredbird Posted: September 26, 2019 at 07:49 PM (#5883473)

I was in your shoes last year so I understand the feeling but the Cards aren't "blowing" anything.


stop making reasonable comments, this is BBTF and i'm having one of my many tortured fandom moments.
   21. PreservedFish Posted: September 26, 2019 at 09:02 PM (#5883494)
I don't understand how Cardinals fans can have tortured fandom moments. There seems to be a deep-seated longing in every sports fan to feel benighted.
   22. Davo Posted: September 26, 2019 at 09:12 PM (#5883498)
1. They might get lucky at the right time
2.
3.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: September 26, 2019 at 09:27 PM (#5883506)
i'm having one of my many tortured fandom moments

I was in your shoes last year so I understand the feeling :-)
   24. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 26, 2019 at 10:20 PM (#5883517)
It's just that the Brewers have won 9 of 10. The Cards have played solid 600 ball in Sept (15-10); the Brewers have gone 20-4.


Wasn't this similar to last year? The Cubs played pretty well the Brewers just went nuts and took the division on the last day or so?
   25. Howie Menckel Posted: September 26, 2019 at 10:30 PM (#5883520)
There seems to be a deep-seated longing in every sports fan to feel benighted.

you got that right.

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