But there's something the Cardinals have that tends to defy all odds, and that's momentum and intangibles.
Headed into the playoffs, the Brewers sported an offense that included Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks, but they still ended up with the 11th-most runs in the majors. Part of this is because they batted .268 with runners in scoring position.
The Cardinals, on the other hand, led the majors in timely hits, averaging .290 with runners in scoring position. Remember the San Francisco Giants in 2010? They made their mark when it counted most.
The Cardinals came into the postseason having won 16 of their last 21 games, setting up one of the greatest comeback performances in years. For a team so far behind in the wild-card race, it was stunning what took place.
Time and time again we are shown that what you have on paper means nothing. We wouldn't have had nine different champions in the last 10 years if that was the case. It's generally the team that is in tune the most headed into the postseason that surprises everybody.
Manager Tony La Russa, who directed the Cardinals to a championship five years ago, knows how to keep his teams headstrong. He has two World Series and four Manager of the Year awards to this name, and he's been coaching longer than some of us have been on this planet.
The Brewers have a team worthy of being in this season's NLCS, but they're also less experienced and struck out the fifth-most times in the majors in 2011. It's another reason why the Cardinals have produced more runs. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have Albert Pujols on their side, also.
The Brewers had home-field advantage coming into this matchup, a primary reason many experts tilted the series to their favor. But the Cardinals have already won in Milwaukee, which only further exemplifies how well they've been playing lately.
In the first half of the regular season, I would have given the Brewers the series in a landslide. But this isn't the first half, nor is it the regular season.
The Cardinals are bound for their second World Series appearance in five years.
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