||01-25-2013 05:27 PM
***OFFICIAL*** 2013 STL Cardinals Thread
From Bernie's column:
People have asked me why weíre not more emotional,Ē Matheny said in his office after Sundayís game. ďThey say that we look subdued, always intense. That our actions are methodical, robotic at times. Thatís what got us here. This isnít the time to change it.Ē
Itís hard to argue with the managerís assessment. The Cardinals finished with 97 victories, most by a Cards team since 2005, and tied with Boston for No. 1 in the majors this year.
Their 54-27 showing at Busch Stadium matches the 1985 team for the best single-season home winning percentage (.667) by the Cardinals since 1944.
A postseason theme has emerged, and it echoes the mantra that surfaced before the start of 2013: remember the fall of 2012. Remember falling to San Francisco in the NLCS.
The Cardinalsí veterans still havenít forgotten. They still arenít over it. Itís why Matheny resists GM John Mozeliakís urgings to smile and put on a happier face.
Here's the most impressive aspect of the Cardinals' division championship: they prevailed over two other outstanding teams, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
The 97-win Cardinals were better this year (regular season) than they were in 2011, when they won 90 games, and 2012, when they won 88.
Here are a few numbers that help put the Cardinals' Central title and No. 1 NL seed in perspective:
* Since MLB switched to a three-division format in each league in 1994, this was only the sixth time that a division had three 90-plus win teams. St. Louis won 97, Pittsburgh 94, and Cincinnati 90.
* Since the format change, this was only the second time that an NL division had three 90-win teams. In 2002 the NL West had Arizona (98 wins), San Francisco (95) and Los Angeles (92).
* The 2013 Cardinals faced more esteemed and difficult competition at the top of the division than any of the division-winning teams managed by Tony La Russa.
The Pirates were hardly pushovers; the Cardinals had to work like mad and kick in with a strong finish to put the division away, and didn't clinch until Game No. 160.
The Cardinals went 9-10 against Pittsburgh this season and were 11-8 vs. Cincinnati.
The Cardinals won only three of 10 games at PNC Park in Pittsburgh and split the 10 games at Cincinnati. The Cardinals were 6-3 against both teams at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals (1st), Pirates (3rd) and Reds (5th) ranked among the top five in wins in the NL. The three teams were among the top 11 in wins in MLB. All three teams finished in the top five in the majors for best overall ERA, and each were in the top five MLB for best starting-pitching ERA.
The original purpose to this piece was to point out that the Cardinals managed to finish with the league's best record while competing in a division that had three 90-win teams for only the second time in the last 19 years of National League baseball.
The Cardinals really earned this.
Thanks for reading ...