The St. Louis Cardinals have advanced to the 2013 NLCS after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates in five games in the NLDS. The NLCS should be a good one this year with the Cardinals taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers for a chance to go to the World Series. The Dodgers have a team built with a lot of stars, but the bottom of their roster isn’t as talented as the bottom of the Cards’ roster.
The Cardinals have had one of the best offenses all season as their ability to hit with runners in scoring position was record-setting. Led by several great players, including Carlos Beltran and MVP candidates Matt Carpenter and Yadier Molina, the Cardinals’ offense was virtually unstoppable at times in 2013.
In the regular season, Carpenter hit .318/.392/.481 with a wRC+ of 147. Molina, formerly known only as a defensive catcher, had an amazing offensive season as well. He hit for a .319/.359/.477 line with a 134 wRC+. Even when the Cardinals’ leading run producer Allen Craig got injured, Matt Adams stepped in and they didn’t miss a beat.
Just like the Cardinals always do, someone stepped up and produced just as well, if not better than the guy he was replacing. The Cardinals have to be considered the best organization in MLB from the top down.
Not many teams can say that an under-the-radar guy hit .300/.389/.490 with a 148 wRC+, but that is what Matt Holliday was in 2013. Nobody talked about him, but he may have been the most important piece of the Cardinals’ lineup because of his power. Beltran, the postseason home run machine, is one of the best postseason players of all time, and baseball has been around for a very long time.
This Cardinals’ lineup has a great mix of average and power, and because of their ability to string together base hits instead of relying on home runs constantly, they are able to avoid long slumps. Compared to the Dodgers’ lineup that is focused on a few All-Stars, the Cardinals’ lineup is a lot deeper and built for postseason success.