The St. Louis Cardinals are heading back to the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
The 2020 season has thrown just about all it can at the Cardinals.
Only five games into a 60-game season, St. Louis faced an outbreak of COVID-19 in the clubhouse that caused the team's next 16 games to be postponed. The Cardinals went from July 30 to Aug. 14 without any baseball activities, ultimately renting cars to make a safe trip to Chicago to resume their season against the Chicago White Sox.
Once they got there, there was no question the team was ready to compete.
St. Louis swept a double-header in its first games back and quickly inserted itself into the postseason picture. It took some creative scheduling—and 10 more double-headers—for the Cardinals to make up their missed games, yet the team kept racking up enough wins to stay relevant.
It took until the last weekend of the regular season, but the grind paid off with a postseason berth.
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt and catcher Yadier Molina led the way on offense, with the All-Star infielder slashing .294/.412/.460 while Molina hit .268/.305/.366.
No one in the lineup hit more than seven home runs—Brad Miller and Tyler O'Neill tied for the mark—but at least five players finished with 20 or more runs batted in.
That was more than enough run support for a pitching staff featuring Dakota Hudson (2.77 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 31 K, 15 BB), Adam Wainwright (3.15 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 54 K, 15 BB) and Jack Flaherty (4.91 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 49 K, 16 BB).
What seemed like a season on the brink has resulted in the Cardinals doing what they're best known for: finding a way to make it to October.