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Old 01-04-2012, 09:08 PM  
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***Offical 2012 STL Cardinals World Champions Thread ***

St. Louis Cardinals: 7 reasons fans should feel good about 2012

Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2012, at 9:26 PM

St. Louis Cardinals fans are likely feeling deflated after the collapse that put an end to the team's dreams of a World Series repeat, but there is good reason to be excited.

With all of the odds against them, the Cardinals managed to push their 2012 season beyond any anticipated boundary.

Given all of the season's changes and the adversity the team had to fight through, the fact that they played in October at all was an anomaly in itself. On paper, it made sense for the Cardinals to be in the playoffs, but few saw them as a true threat.
As the season continued, even fans began to doubt as they watched the team seemingly crumble in June and July. When the Cardinals finally came to life in September they went 11-5 in the last 16 games of the season to lock up the second Wild Card position in its inaugural year.

That run, despite it's crushing end in Cincinnati in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, lots of good came from the Cardinals' season and playoff run.
Following in no particular order are 10 reasons Cardinals fans have to be excited about the 2013 season.

Trevor Rosenthal
When rookie fireballer Trevor Rosenthal made his first trip to St. Louis, it was obvious almost instantly that he was something special.
Between his 100 mph fastball and the general inability for almost anyone to hit off of him, he became a huge part of the Cardinals playoff run.

He pitched in a total of 19 regular season games before the 22-year-old rookie from Lee's Summit, Mo. got his first taste of postseason baseball and he put on quite a show.
In 8.2 IP over seven postseason appearances, Rosenthal held opponents to only two hits and no runs.
It's possible that down the stretch he may have already earned his spot in the rotation for 2013.

Shelby Miller
The long-coveted fastball pitching prospect Shelby Miller also made his first trip to St. Louis in 2012 and put on a good show.
In 13.2 IP over six regular season games, Miller surrendered only two runs on nine hits. His postseason performance was more of the same with two runs on four hits in 3.2 IP.

Despite a dismal first half of the season in Memphis, Miller got himself together and still managed to make one major league start before the end of the season -- a very impressive start at that.
Against the Cincinnati Reds in the final game of the regular season, Miller posted 5.2 hitless innings. He gave up no runs and collected his first major league win.

Expect to see a lot more of Miller in St. Louis early in 2013.

Joe Kelly
When Joe Kelly made his major league debut on June 10, few could have guessed the importance he would play throughout the remainder of the 2012 season.
Kelly started 16 games for the Cardinals this season filling in for Jaime Garcia and Lance Lynn, but it was the postseason when he really came through for his teammates.

When starting pitchers struggled time and again in October, it was Kelly who came to their rescue.
In seven postseason appearances, Kelly threw 7.2 innings and surrendered only two runs on six hits. Kelly came through for the Cardinals from the bullpen.
There's a good chance that could be his home in the future.

Mike Matheny
When the Cardinals hired Mike Matheny to take over for Tony LaRussa, many question bringing in a manager with no experience to such a storied franchise.

He had a few hiccups and growing pains along the way, but for a rookie manager to get his team where Matheny did this year speaks volumes.
His players have a strong respect for Matheny and credit his positive style with being a driving force behind their 2012 success.
True, he didn't get them through the NLCS, but the team made it to an all or nothing Game 7. That's good experience for the players obviously, but also for Matheny. Not only did he learn a lot about managing in the media pressure cooker that is postseason baseball, he also got a taste of what it felt like to win as a manager.

NLCS loss means more drive to win
While the NLCS loss was a good lesson for a young manager, it's an even more important lesson for a young player.
The 2011 championship lit a fire under young players like Lance Lynn and Jon Jay. That fire helped drive them to extremely successful sophomore seasons.

What happened in 2012 will likely do the same for Rosenthal, Miller and Kelly. Their 2013 season may not be like Jay or Lynn's 2012, but now they've gotten a little taste of what it feels like to be a winner.

Both the excitement and the public humbling can be a great experience for any young player.

The run was without several key components
In a season riddled with injuries, none were as crucial as those late in the season.
The loss of Lance Berkman and Rafael Furcal significantly weakened the team's bench. Instead of having Pete Kozma, Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter to pinch hit, the team wound up having to use them in the lineup.

The loss of Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook also rocked the Cardinals. Instead of having Lynn and Westbrook also available from the bullpen, Lynn was pushed back into the rotation after a very successful NLDS bullpen stint.

Having gotten as deep into the playoffs as the Cardinals did in spite of the injuries is quite the accomplishment.

They did it without Pujols, LaRussa and Duncan
Few in the world of sports gave the Cardinals a fighting chance when Albert Pujols left the team to play on the west coast. Surely this team couldn't be as good as they were?

Few gave them a chance after longtime manager Tony LaRussa decided it was time to retire.
Few gave them a chance after pitching coach Dave Duncan left the team.
The Cardinals did it despite all of that. That's something any fan should be proud of.

No, they didn't hoist a trophy. There will be no parade or tickertape.
What there is, though, is hope for next year and that will come sooner than you may think.
After all, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in just four short months.

From a blog I was sent on twitter: http://www.dailystatesman.com/blogs/...es/entry/50051

Last edited by BigRedChief; 10-24-2012 at 08:57 PM..
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:56 AM   #1681
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I came home from work and it was 6-0. Didn't even figure it was worth watching so I watched a movie with the Mrs. When the movie was over I checked ESPN and was stunned. I went up to my wife all crestfallen saying that the Cardinals had fallen behind 6-0 in the elimination game. The I perked up and told her they won 9-7.
Even after last year, how many time we cam back from the dead, you still didn;t believe?

Thats okay, most of us were feeling the same but at least we kept watching the game.
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Old 10-13-2012, 01:15 PM   #1682
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Even after last year, how many time we cam back from the dead, you still didn;t believe?

Thats okay, most of us were feeling the same but at least we kept watching the game.
I get few enough evenings with the Mrs. since I work second shift. Guess I had to take one for the team.
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Old 10-13-2012, 03:21 PM   #1683
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I get few enough evenings with the Mrs. since I work second shift. Guess I had to take one for the team.
Here's hoping you get at least 8 more evenings with her over the next couple of weeks.
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:40 PM   #1684
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:43 PM   #1685
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Great job by the bullpen. Lynn looks like a guy who surpassed his innings max for the year.
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:43 PM   #1686
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Cards take game 1
Freese hit a bomb the bullpen comes through. Looks amazingly like last year.
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:47 PM   #1687
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:50 PM   #1688
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Probably been said, but how cool will it be to win another title without Pujols this time.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:40 PM   #1689
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:41 PM   #1690
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Great job by the bullpen. Lynn looks like a guy who surpassed his innings max for the year.
I'd be in favor of Miller getting his start next time. Sure, he's a rookie but you just keep him on a short leash and back him up with Lynn or Kelley.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:46 PM   #1691
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Probably been said, but how cool will it be to win another title without Pujols this time.
My position is that the WS is something akin to winning an exhibition after the National League season is over. I know, it's stupid, but I don't care. A successful season for me is one that ends with an NL Pennant.

The World Series is just delicious icing.

I'm not gonna lie - I'd love to see the Cards snag another pennant while Albert's ass is back home golfing and thanking God for telling him to take the biggest contract.
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Old 10-15-2012, 03:57 PM   #1692
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My position is that the WS is something akin to winning an exhibition after the National League season is over. I know, it's stupid, but I don't care. A successful season for me is one that ends with an NL Pennant.

The World Series is just delicious icing.

I'm not gonna lie - I'd love to see the Cards snag another pennant while Albert's ass is back home golfing and thanking God for telling him to take the biggest contract.
So, anything less than a National league pennant is a failure?
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:05 PM   #1693
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:08 PM   #1694
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Great job by the bullpen. Lynn looks like a guy who surpassed his innings max for the year.
Or a guy who was given a start on 2 days rest
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Old 10-15-2012, 04:20 PM   #1695
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So, anything less than a National league pennant is a failure?
Depending on the competition cycle, yeah. If you're rebuilding and you get a lot of good experience for your players, build on some stuff and charge up for next year - then it's a success regardless of the outcome (the Nats, for instance.

If you're a team like the Cardinals and you have all the talent this squad has, when the season begins you should set a pretty decent goal for yourself. I don't think WS or bust is fair, but I do think that the goal for this Cardinals team should have been a pennant. Otherwise you're setting your goals too low.

If you don't reach that goal, the season can't be a true success, though you could certainly get around not calling it a failure.

Did the Braves have a successful season? I don't think the die-hards would say they did. The Phils? Marlins? Mets? No, not at all. Reds? Nope 98 wins and a first round loss isn't a successful season, not with the veteran stars they have on the roster. I don't think anyone else in the Central can consider this a successful season either. The Bucs collapsed down the stretch again and the Brewers underperformed so badly early that they made re-building trades that bit them when they finally got their !@#$ in order.

The Giants are probably going to call this season successful after getting through to the playoffs even after their injuries/suspensions. The D-Backs can't possibly like it, nor can the Rox. Maybe the Padres with their strong finish, but that's a 'rebuilding' squad under the rebuilding rules.

If the Cards lose the NLCS, I'll consider this a fine season, but not one I would call a 'successful' one. An entertaining one and one where some guys developed, but this isn't a building squad - it's a championship caliber one and should be held to that standard.
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