2011 World Series: 5 Unsung Cards Who Made a Difference
The St. Louis Cardinals are the World Champions. And most stories about the World Champion Cards focus on the bats of Albert Pujols, David Freese, and sometimes Lance Berkman; plus the arm of Chris Carpenter and the brain of Tony LaRussa.
But even the five people I mentioned were quick to comment that it was a team effort. So in that spirit, here are five Cardinals who made the difference, but people aren't talking about.
Somehow lost in the shuffle of it all is pinch-hitter and fourth outfielder Allen Craig.
Craig got RBIs when St. Louis needed them in the World Series. In seven games and just 19 at-bats, he drove in five. He also had three home runs and 14 total bags in the World Series alone.
Craig was also perfect in fielding. He got two important defensive outs in Game 7, including one that robbed Nelson Cruz of a homer.
Yadi Molina had the Cadinals' best bat in the postseason after Freese, Pujols and Berkman. He had 25 total bags, drove in 12, and notched a .733 OPS
But that's not the only reason why Yadi's underrated. In the NLCS and World Series combined, teams stole only one base under Molina's watch. That means Molina stole as many bases in the NLDS as all his opponents in the other two rounds combined. Besides being a decent hitter, Yadi is one of the best defensive and calling catchers in the game.
This picture says it all. Furcal's fielding is one of the reasons St. Louis is here. In 80 total changes (more than anyone but Molina and Pujols), Furcal was perfect, with a postseason leading 57 assists, and 23 putouts. He also turned two 11 times. Furcal made catches and plays that other shortstops couldn't, and Elvis Andrus didn't.
Furcal also had a decent bat, with 25 total bags and 11 runs.
If only he were still with my hometown Dodgers.
St. Louis' rotation apart from Carpenter wasn't particularly good, combining for seven quality starts in 18 games. But the Cards still couldn't have gotten there without them. And so I honor Edwin Jackson, the only Cardinals starter other then Carpenter to actually notch a victory. The choice of Jackson also highlights how the Cardinals won the World Series because they made the controversial Colby Rasmus trade.
Octavio Dotel, a journeyman if there ever was one, tied with lauded catcher-turned-closer Jason Motte and innings eater Marc Rzepczynski for most appearances for the Cards. Dotel had a respectable 2.61 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 12.19 Ks per nine, and recorded two wins in relief (more than three of the Cardinals' starters combined) and three holds.