In a game that lacked the offense that was expected by many to come in this matchup, the Cardinals' pitching was able to put together a strong performance to put the Redbirds three wins away from an 11th championship.
The Cardinals were able to once again get solid performances from all of their little-known role players. Allen Craig got a game-winning RBI on a pinch-hit single in the sixth, and four different relievers combined to pitch two innings of one-hit ball before unofficial closer Jason Motte got his fifth save of the playoffs.
The amazing run that the Cardinals are on right now is certainly one of historic proportions.The Cardinals already are one of the most unlikely World Series participants in recent memory after their amazing run into the playoffs before disposing of the Phillies and Brewers.
But if there is any team that can come close to the 2011 Cardinals in terms of unknown players doing great things, it has to be the 2006 Cardinals.
Going into the 2006 season, the Cardinals were viewed as a legitimate team, but not a World Series favorite. Coming into this season, the Cardinals were viewed as a club that couldn't go too far if they reached the playoffs because of a season-ending injury to Adam Wainwright.
The '06 Cardinals were a team that also barely got into the playoffs. The 2006 Cardinals nearly coughed up a lead to the Astros after a horrid September.
But once they were in the playoffs, the '06 Cardinals were able to defeat the best regular season team in baseball in order to advance onto the next round, just like they did this year. Both the Mets in '06 and the Phillies this season were expected to win the World Series, but patchy Cardinals teams were able to defeat them both.
At closer, each Cardinals team had a little-known name ending games. In '06, it was Wainwright, and this season it's Motte.
But arguably the biggest connecting point between the two seasons is the manager. Both seasons we saw Tony La Russa in charge of the club. La Russa has been the best manager in baseball during the last several decades, and he has once again worked his magic with this team.
La Russa has gotten players such as David Freese and John Jay to show up and make a major difference for this team. When we entered the playoffs, no one expected either player to make as big of an impact in the playoffs as they have.
When you look at the 2006 team, players such as Scott Spiezio and David Eckstein were key components of the roster that won the World Series.
Now that the Cardinals are just three wins away from their 11th championship, it looks like history is on the verge of happening again. As long as the Cardinals' unknown players continue to perform the way that they have throughout the past month, they will win the World Series.
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