Predicted Win/Loss Record: 87-75
Actual Win/Loss Record: 88-74
What Went Right for the St. Louis Cardinals
This is the closest I came to predicting a team's record correctly, so I'll pat myself on the back for this one.
The offense had the task of replacing Albert Pujols' production (which is almost impossible to do), but the players stepped up and actually scored three more runs than the 2011 world champion Cardinals (765 to 762).
Their major acquisition, Carlos Beltran, hit 32 home runs and Allen Craig, filling in for Lance Berkman (who only played in 32) games added 22 and an .876 OPS. Yadier Molina (.315, 22 HR, 76 RBI) and Matt Holliday (.295, 27 HR, 102 RBI) were the offensive MVPs.
The team's pitching stepped up in a big way, too, having to deal with missing Chris Carpenter for most of the year with a shoulder injury and with Adam Wainwright returning from Tommy John surgery.
Wainwright improved as the season went on, finishing 14-13 with a 3.94 ERA, but Kyle Lohse established himself with a 16-3 record and a 2.86 ERA. Lance Lynn contributed, as well, going 18-7 with a 3.78 ERA and Jaime Garcia was 7-7 with a 3.92. Even Carpenter returned for three starts in September and could play a role in another Cardinals' championship.
Mike Matheny's squad plays in Atlanta today in the one-game Wild Card playoff, so their season could end abruptly, but if they make it to the Division Series, we all know what the Cardinals are capable of in October.