How does it make you feel that the San Francisco Giants will be hosting the Texas Rangers in the World Series in 2010? Do you look at the Texas Rangers with Elvis Andrus and think your St. Louis Cardinals need someone like that at the top of the lineup? Do you look at the San Francisco Giants and wonder what could have been if the Phillies had to face our big 3 of Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Jaime Garcia? Are you stunned that the Philadelphia Phillies pitching was brought down by a middle of the pack offense? Did the Giants pitching staff catch the Phillies offense in a slump, or did they just shut them down? If we would have played Texas, would Yadier Molina have shut down their aggressive style?
Well, if you think like I do, you’ve asked all these questions, and many more. I don’t know if it’s a disease or not, but I’ve frequented these questions in my mind a lot this postseason. It seems like the Cardinals missed a great opportunity this year. I think I feel that way because we had the pitching to go all the way. I’m not sure if the Cardinals could have shut down the Phillies or the Giants, but it does feel like a missed opportunity and leaves a sour taste in your mouth not knowing.
I posted a Giants vs. Cardinals column when I started this blog. It went over some basic team stats, and it seemed besides for saves and save opportunities, they were a very similar team, albeit some broad categories. For a quick recap, the Giants led the National League in team ERA with a 3.36, while the Cardinals were 4th with a 3.57. The Cardinals were 2nd in the National League with a .263 batting average, while the Giants were 7th with a .257. In team defense, the Giants had a .988 fielding percentage while the Cardinals had a .984. Even though the Cardinals have more punch in the middle of the lineup, I think the pieces the Giants added throughout the year made their lineup more balanced than the Cardinals.
If pitching would have been a major issue this year, you could have pointed out that the Giants led the league in strikeouts with 1331 while the Cardinals finished with 1094 strikeouts, or 1.46 fewer strikeouts per game than the Giants. I doubt that any Dave Duncan pitching staff has led the league in K’s. I don’t think you can argue with the pitching philosophy though. I would like to see a closer who has more strikeout potential than Ryan Franklin in the future, but he didn’t create the fact that the Cardinals had the fewest save opportunities in baseball, and that’s a story for another day.
I think the feeling of “what if” comes from not knowing if the Cardinals will ever have Carpenter, Wainwright and Garcia healthy together again. Throw in another MVP type year from Albert Pujols, and a very impressive year from Matt Holliday, and it becomes that much more frustrating.
With the offensive troubles that lasted most of the year, it makes it easy to salivate after someone like Elvis Andrus. I’m not sure if adding a true speedster would fix the offense, or if it would take another power bat, or both. Who knows how much the Cardinals missed Ryan Ludwick. It’s hard to gauge how the Ludwick trade impacted the Cardinals. Basically, I’m just not sure how to feel about watching the Giants beat the Phillies, and I’m just wondering who feels the same?