5 Reasons Why the St. Louis Cardinals Will Win the NLCS
Why The Cardinals Will Beat The Dodgers
Nobody expected that the St. Louis Cardinals would ride into the 2011 World Series and take home their 11th title. They were underdogs in every sense of the word. 2013 is a bit different. The Cardinals entered the postseason holding down the invaluable position of home field advantage throughout the playoffs, earned from having the best record in all of the National League.
The Cardinals wasted no time in the NLCS, jumping out to a 1-0 lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers, who, despite being the away team, may be seen as the favorites. That’s perfectly alright from a Cardinal perspective. They have the wonderful habit of using pressure to make themselves better.
It’s not the Cardinals that we’re used to seeing. No Albert Pujols (obviously), no Chris Carpenter, no Jason Motte. Rafael Furcal has been gone all year and Allen Craig, the most underrated player throughout the regular season, has been replaced by Big City Matt Adams following a foot injury.
On paper, the Cardinals don’t have a chance. The Dodgers are bringing Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez, and the soon-to-be NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw to St. Louis, not to mention the would-be ace Zach Greinke and the somehow-underrated Adrian Gonzalez. On paper, they are better than the Cardinals on every level (pitching, power hitting, speed and contact hitting).
But the Cardinals will win the series. They have to. It’s the St. Louis way. There is no other option. Here is the proof: the five main reasons why the Cardinals will go on to the World Series yet again.
5. Adam Wainwright
Adam Wainwright is a special player. And although one player cannot win or lose a game, Wainwright is about as close as they come to being an automatic win. Wainwright has a 1.13 ERA this postseason. Opponents are hitting .196 against him. And the best part is that in all likelihood, he'll get to pitch twice. Wainwright will not be facing either Greinke, who the Cardinals already beat, or Clayton Kershaw in his first start in the NLCS. Aside from those two, the Dodgers have no one that can match him.
4. Matt Carpenter Will Come Around
Matt Carpenter became the best left-handed Cardinal hitter since Stan Musial this season. He led the league in hits, runs, doubles and multi-hit games. Yet against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLDS, he only managed one hit. That won't last. He's far too good and far too reliable to hit .050 throughout the post season. He'll break out in the NLCS and remind everyone why he was the best lead off hitter this year.
Yes, every team that's made it this far is riding a huge wave of momentum. But no team seems to harness momentum quite like the St. Louis Cardinals. The Pirates had owned the Cardinals all year, but the Cardinals successfully put them down. 2011 was the biggest indication of what the Cardinals are capable of when the momentum wave is strong. It's just a different type of momentum when the Cardinals start rolling.
2. Home Field Advantage
It's a huge factor. Four home games in one of the toughest places to win for an away team in all of sports. Busch Stadium is relentless to its opposition. The Cardinals don't wow in a lot of offensive statistical categories, but at home, they just won't lose. They registered a 54-27 record at home this year, that was good for second in the league. It's that simple.
1. They Have Carlos Beltran
One guy again? Yes. Carlos Beltran is so much more than just one man. In game one, he reminded everyone that he is arguably the best post season hitter ever. Beltran recently passed Babe Ruth in career postseason home runs with 16. He owns a .345 career post season batting average. It's safe to say he comes to the postseason not just to play, but to win.