I am a Philadelphia Phillies fan, so when the playoffs started, I decided that I would hope for either the Pittsburgh Pirates or the Tampa Bay Rays to come away with the championship. You can obviously tell how well that worked out, but the one kind of strange advantage that I have gained is some sense of objectivity regarding the World Series. I don't really have a vested interest in either team.
As a result, I have been able to weigh the relative merits of each of the teams involved, and I have come up with 10 reasons why I will be rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals as we come towards baseball’s ultimate stage.
Carlos Beltran has been playing in the major leagues for 16 seasons. He was named Rookie of the Year and has been a part of eight All-Star teams. I think that by the time he retires, he might have an interesting case to be made for the Hall of Fame.
Even with all of those individual honors, he has not been able to make it into the World Series until this year.
As one of my favorite players in recent history, you have to be excited that he is finally getting his shot. He has hit more postseason home runs (16) than Babe Ruth for crying out loud. He deserves this chance.
Back in 2004, the Boston Red Sox were still working to overthrow the Curse of the Bambino. They had just made a miraculous comeback against the New York Yankees by winning four straight games in the League Championship Series to win the pennant.
Despite that fact, they were still the underdogs going into the World Series, because they were facing the St. Louis Cardinals who had won 105 games that season. Many people thought it was over for Boston.
The Red Sox did not feel that way. They swept the St. Louis Cardinals and broke the Curse. Now, it is time for the Cardinals to repay that.
Las Vegas is giving the Boston Red Sox a slight edge in the World Series, and Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com gives more favor to Boston in terms of position-by-position matchups. Even though the teams had identical 97-65 records during the regular season, it seems as if people generally believe that Boston has the advantage.
Presently, I am generally inclined to root for the underdog, and in this case, that would be the St. Louis Cardinals.
Michael Wacha is one of the best stories in baseball this postseason. Although he made a few spot appearances in May and June, he did not stick in the majors until he made an appearance on August 10.
The rest has been history.
Although the St. Louis Cardinals obviously realized his potential when they drafted him 19th overall in 2012, I doubt that anyone could have seen the type of performance that he has put together throughout the playoffs. He is currently 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA.
I want to see how far this story can go.
The St. Louis Cardinals had their backs against the wall way back in the NLDS. In Game Four, Michael Wacha came through with a big performance to force the deciding Game 5 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
That was when Adam Wainwright took over. He threw a complete game and only surrendered one run en route to helping the Cardinals on their way to the next round.
This is a team of fighters, and I think that spirit will serve them well in the World Series.
The St. Louis Cardinals pitched very well to get to the World Series, but you really can’t say the same about their offense. They have the lowest combined postseason batting average of any team in the final eight at .210.
Of their everyday starters, Matt Adams had the highest average at .268.
Although I would normally criticize this lack of production, I have to admit that I am somewhat impressed by their resilience. They found a way to win, and that is ultimately what matters in the long run.
I have already highlighted Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha for their excellent performances, and with the outings that these two men have been putting in, we could easily see two quick wins going toward St. Louis.
After that, even if they were to lose a few games in between, these two men could go again at the end of the series.
In between, you do have Lance Lynn going as well, so with an effective starting rotation, the St. Louis Cardinals certainly have a strong chance of pulling this out. It is hard to stop a team that is on fire.
The Molina brothers are the only three brothers to ever all win a World Series ring. Bengie is behind with only one, but Jose and Yadier each have two apiece.
Jose won his in 2002 with the then Anaheim Angels and in 2009 with the New York Yankees.
Yadier won both of his with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006 and 2011.
It is time to break that tie.
Outside the New York Yankees, no other team has won as many World Series titles as the St. Louis Cardinals. Over their history, they have won 11, and two of them have been in the past 10 years.
Of course, Boston can say the same thing about two World Series in the last 10 years, but they have not been in this series since 2007. St. Louis won it in 2011.
Although both teams have certainly had quite a bit of turnovers since their last World Series appearances, the fact that St. Louis was in the Series more recently is probably a good sign.
I may have mentioned a lot of somewhat questionable reasons, but this is the most obvious reason that the St. Louis Cardinals have the advantage going into the World Series.
Seriously though, there are many great storylines coming from the St. Louis side, and there are plenty of reasons why they could very well end up on top of this Series. If you are like me and don’t necessarily have predetermined loyalties, go with St. Louis.
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