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Like It Or Not, The St. Louis Cardinals Are The Class Of Major League Baseball





A great deal has been made recently about the St. Louis Cardinals and a certain arrogance that the team carries around with them. That buzz has been generated primarily by their negative view of Yasiel Puig, after the Los Angeles Dodgers star outlandishly knocked in a couple of runs on a triple in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.

This has led to something of a backlash against the Cards across the internet, with folks going out of their way to point out times when the Cardinals have acted in a similar fashion during these very playoffs. While the hypocrisy may not be necessary, the Cardinals are a team that has every right to roll around like that.

The Cards are the model organization in Major League Baseball. This has led to them being one of the more hated clubs in the bigs. Not that some of the negativity being cast toward them isn’t warranted, but the Cardinals really are the class of the MLB.

This is an organization that has built from within. Sure, there are some big names that have come from the outside, including Carlos Beltran, but for the most part, the Cardinals are the envy of the world in terms of their ability to develop talent. We’ve seen no names come up and find immediate success. Heck, Matt Carpenter was an All Star this season.

We’ve seen the Cardinals’ ability to draft and develop talent in full gear during this postseason. Michael Wacha has the makings of a dominant starter. Joe Kelly has come up big for them in multiple appearances after latching onto a starting job late in the year. Carlos Martinez has electric stuff. Trevor Rosenthal is a dominant arm out of the ‘pen. The list goes on, and that’s just the pitching.

When you find the type of success that the Cardinals have found in player development, you’re going to attract some negative attention for just that. The Cardinals are the envy of the baseball world, and until something drastically changes in their front office, they’re going to continue to be in the mix for a championship year in and year out.

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John Lackey: Brilliant Season For Boston Red Sox Continuing In MLB Postseason





The Boston Red Sox managed to rebound from a tough Game 1 loss to the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series, riding that momentum to a 2-1 edge in the series. In Game 3, which saw them grab the series lead, it was a victory that came thanks to a stroke of brilliance from John Lackey.

Brilliant and John Lackey aren’t necessarily terms that one would have expected to find related to each other coming into the regular season. He missed all of 2012 after undergoing surgery, following a disaster of a 2011 season with the Red Sox. His massive contract looked like a complete and total bust.

Yet, Lackey came into the 2013 season in the best shape of his career, and the results came along with it. The Red Sox haven’t had the most consistent rotation in all of baseball, but their front end has been, quietly, as good as anyone in the game. A big reason for that is the performance of Lackey, who has the look of a hurler in his prime.

That statement may include a touch of hyperbole, but there’s little to argue the fact that Lackey has looked as good in 2013 as he has for the last several years. Lackey came out and posted some of the best numbers of his career, in what was perhaps his best regular season campaign since 2005.

He tossed 189 innings, but posted a win-loss record that doesn’t necessarily reflect how good he was. His ERA for the year was at 3.52, he struck out 161 batters, and walked just 40, while posting an ERA+ of 116, his highest mark since 2008. Not bad for a guy who was just a season removed from surrendering more earned runs than any other starter in the American League.

His start against the Tigers earlier this week was just another example of how well he’s managed to rebound this season. He surrendered only four hits, walked none, and struck out eight across 6.2 innings of shutout ball, outdueling Detroit ace Justin Verlander.

The rebound for Lackey really has been something to see. This is a guy who posted one of the worst, if not the worst, season from a starter in Red Sox history back in 2011, but has come out like a champ in 2013, piecing together a brilliant year that has folks believing in him again.

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Los Angeles Dodgers: Yasiel Puig Is A Great Thing For Baseball





A huge deal has been made in this National League Championship Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals about the persona of Yasiel Puig. Not that this should come as any sort of surprise, given that this was something that was talked about a great deal over the course of the regular season.

In Game 3 of the NLCS, the first of the series in Los Angeles, Puig hit a triple that plated a pair of runs in a game the Dodgers went on to win 3-0. Puig admired his shot from the plate, before emphatically hopping onto third base, much to the chagrin of the Cardinals, who have been very vocal in their complaints about the way he handled it.

It was an intense situation, and Puig was, no doubt, feeding off of the energy at Dodger Stadium, which was absolutely electric. We’ve seen players show this kind of intensity throughout the postseason, and multiple times coming from the Cardinals alone.

Yet, because it’s Yasiel Puig, the intensity in a game such as baseball is apparently unwarranted. We’ve seen Michael Wacha walk off of the pitchers’ mound screaming. Same with Adam Wainwright. Teams over in the American League have done it too. Max Scherzer came off the mound last week after getting out of a huge jam against Oakland with fists in full pump.

Again, this shouldn’t come as any surprise. While no one will deny that Puig is as talented a right fielder as there is in baseball, and possesses all five tools, baseball fans, writers, and even his peers have criticized his attitude and tendency to go over the top at one point or another. Rather than shunning him for the way he plays the game, Major League Baseball should be embracing him.

A polarizing player like Puig is great for the game. And regardless of what one might think about his “attitude”, there’s little to argue the fact that he’s an absolute blast to watch. The kind of over-the-top intensity is something that the game could use more of, not less.

Yasiel Puig has been fun to watch this season, and will continue to be on into the future. He’s going to have critics, whether it’s the hypocritical Cardinals or the old school baseball writers. But an electric personality like Puig is something that absolutely has a place in this game.

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