One year after making a historical run and winning the World Series, all signs pointed to the St. Louis Cardinals repeating as champions last season before the team collapsed in the NLCS to the San Francisco Giants.
The Cardinals held on to a 3-1 lead heading into Game 5 of the series, and only had to win one of their final three games to represent the National League in the World Series, but their dreams were shattered when the Giants pulled off another historic comeback by winning those three games to take the series 4-3. Heading into 2013, there’s no reason why St. Louis shouldn’t be considered one of the top contenders once again and compete for the NL Central title with the Cincinnati Reds.
If there was anything to take away from the 2012 season, it was the Cardinals were still capable of being strong contenders without Albert Pujols–who bolted for the Los Angeles Angels in free agency–in the lineup. Everybody expected 2012 to be a rebuilding year for St. Louis as they adjusted to life without Pujols in the lineup, but that was far from the case as the argument can be made the team looked ever better than it did with Pujols in it.
If the Cardinals can perform as well as they did in 2013 as they did in 2012, this team could be one of the most dangerous in baseball once again. And with the way their season ended in disappointment in the NLCS, expect them to come out firing in 2013 to redeem themselves.
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