Even though the St. Louis Cardinals weren’t able to win the season series against the Pittsburgh Pirates — they lost 10 of the 19 games played between the two teams — they shouldn’t feel like they don’t have a chance to win the NLDS against the Bucs. The biggest reason the Cardinals can win the NLDS against the Pirates is the advantage the Cards’ lineup has over the Pirates’ lineup.
The Pirates rely a lot on Andrew McCutchen, Marlon Byrd, Starling Marte and Pedro Alvarez. Sure, McCutchen isn’t a terrible player to rely on, but the Cardinals have so much more consistency and balance in their lineup.
Matt Carpenter has led off for the Cardinals all year, he hit for a .318/.392/.481 slash line in the regular season with a 147 wRC+. He, along with teammate Yadier Molina, are legitimate candidates for National League MVP. Molina, the Cardinals’ longtime catcher, has had a great offensive season too. In 541 plate appearances, Molina had a .319/.359/.477 line with a 134 wRC+ for the Cardinals in the 2013 regular season.
When Allen Craig went down with an injury, many people wondered if the Cards could replace his presence in the lineup. Of course, being the Cardinals, they had no trouble with that. Matt Adams stepped in at first base and had a great season, hitting 17 home runs with a .284/.335/.503 line with a 136 wRC+ in just 319 plate appearances.
Matt Holliday has been another consistent piece of the puzzle for the Red Birds. In 602 plate appearances, Holliday hit for a .300/.389/.490 line and a 148 wRC+. He added 22 home runs as well.
The Cardinals’ defense hasn’t been particularly good in 2013, so they needed all the offense they could get. Fortunately for them, they’ve had no issues finding offense. From top to bottom, the Cardinals have a far superior lineup when compared to the Pirates’ lineup.