Tuesday, December 4, 2012

St. Louis Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals (88-74) – Second Place NL Central, Wild Card Berth

As a die-hard Cubs fan, it pains me to write this, but the Cardinals continued their success in 2012.  Every year it seems like the Cardinals find new players to step up, and this year, that player was Allen Craig.  Despite injuries to Lance Berkman, Rafael Furcal, Jaime Garcia, and Chris Carpenter, the Cardinals were once again able to make it the NLCS, coming very close to making the World Series for the second year in a row.

Pitchers- The two best starting pitchers for the Cardinals in 2012 were surprisingly Kyle Lohse and Lance Lynn.  Lohse went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA in over 211 innings.  Lynn was amazing in the first half and was an All-Star, but he also lost his job later in the year.  Lynn finished with 18 wins and a 3.78 ERA and averaged more than a strikeout per inning.  Coming off an injury, Adam Wainwright was good, winning 14 games and sporting an ERA just under 4.  The future of the rotation might be Shelby Miller.  The Cardinals top pitching prospect only made 1 start in 2012, but in that start he struck out 7 batters in 6 innings while giving up no runs.  Flame throwing Jason Motte was fantastic at the back end.  Motte saved 42 games, had an ERA of just 2.75, and struck out 86 batters in 72 innings. 

Perhaps, like Brian Wilson, Jason Motte's power is in his beard

Infield- The corner infielders were extremely successful for St. Louis in 2012.  Third baseman David Freese and First baseman Allen Craig were phenomenal.  Freese, coming off his World Series MVP, hit .293 with 20 home runs and 79 RBIs.  Craig was even better, hitting .307 with 22 home runs and 92 RBIs.  Craig hit an amazing .400 with runners in scoring position, best in the league.  Lance Berkman’s injury created an opportunity for Craig to play every day and Craig seized that opportunity.  Catcher Yadier Molina is not only arguably the best defensive catcher in the league, but he can swing the bat too.  Molina hit .315 with 22 home runs and 76 RBIs.  Up the middle the Cards struggled with Rafael Furcal, Skip Schumacher, Tyler Greene, Daniel Descalso, and Pete Kozma all spending time at short or second.
Yadier Molina is a perennial Gold Glove award winner

Outfield- The outfield was extremely productive across the board for the Cardinals.  In left, Matt Holliday continued his slugging ways, hitting .295 with 27 home runs and a team leading 102 RBIs.  Jon Jay was great in center with both the glove and the bat.  Jay not only chased them down in center, but he also hit .305 and stole 19 bases at the top of the lineup.  Right fielder Carlos Beltran was also very good, hitting .269 with a team leading 32 home runs and 97 RBIs. Beltran also stole 13 bases, which isn’t great, but for an aging Beltran with knee problems, that is a pretty solid number.  In a reserve role in the infield and the outfield, Matt Carpenter was very good, hitting .294. 

Jon Jay repeatedly gives up his body to make a play,
this time crashing into the wall right next to his former manager

Twitter Account of the Day- David Freese @dfreese23

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