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St. Louis Cardinals: Defeated, Deflated Demeanor

First off let me preface this by saying the St. Louis Cardinals gave us one of the most memorable & enjoyable seasons in a long time this year.

Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina & Albert Pujols photo credit: St. Louis Cardinals (Twitter)

From Albert Pujols coming back home, to his journey to 700 HR & beyond. From Adam Wainwright & Yadier Molina breaking the all-time battery record to Nolan Arenado & Paul Goldschmidt putting up MVP-esque seasons both on the field and at the plate. Sprinkle in the likes of Brendan Donovan & Lars Nootbaar having breakout seasons, Tommy Edman stealing bags, Juan Yepez & Nolan Gorman debuts, an awesome Ryan Helsley entrance light show and Oliver Marmol leading this team to a division title in his first year… yes those are just a few of the highlights.

Like many Cardinals fans, I was stoked that the team ran away from the Brewers in taking the NL Central. I felt St. Louis had this magic momentum surrounding them with the pregame farewell tours, matched with Pujols bombs & gritty team wins.

The end of the season seemed like (aside from Albert Pujols) the team as a whole went cold. Particularly the month of September.

Adam Wainwright - photo credit: Harry How/Getty Images

Adam Wainwright struggled down the stretch (at first claiming possible “dead arm” then later figuring out it was his delivery.) His September numbers ended with a 2-2 record & a 6.38 ERA. In 24 innings (5 starts), he had a total of 9 strikeouts & 17 earned runs. Then in his lone start in October to wrap up the season, he pitched  4.2 innings in a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates giving up 6 hits, 6 runs, 2 walks while striking out 4.

Paul Goldschmidt & Nolan Arenado photo credit :Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Paul Goldschmidt seemed lost at the plate after being one of the game’s best hitter’s all season. He ended with a Sept. average of .253 with 2 HR while Nolan Arenado had a slashline of .216/.289/.341 for the month of September with 2 HR.

Jordan Montgomery who came over from the Yankees at the trade deadline and impressed in his first few outings, ended September with 3 straight losses giving up 13 earned runs in 14.1 innings in those games

We don’t even need a reminder of Dakota Hudson’s last start of the season where on Oct. 4, he pitched 2.2 innings giving up 9 hits and 7 ER or Paul DeJong who slashed .107/.194/.107 in September and finished the season with a .152 avg, 32 hits and 79 strikeouts.

Tyler O’Neill photo credit : Harry How/Getty Images

Of course there were injuries along the way that had Tyler O’Neill & Dylan Carlson not plugged into the outfield for chunks of time, and even Harrison Bader before the trade, but finishing the year with Ben DeLuzio & Alec Burleson as outfield options and Corey Dickerson a mainstay wasn’t how many envisioned the outfield to look.

Overall though, the Cardinals not only picked a bad time to go cold, but the other issue is when you look around the league at the playoff teams, they usually have more than 2 or 3 offensive threats in their lineup and a rotation that has some true fear factor at the top of it.

2022 Postseason Bracket via

Of the 11 other MLB teams that were in this year’s playoff bracket, the Cardinals did not play the Cleveland Guardians, Seattle Mariners or Houston Astros during the regular season. But they went (0-3) vs the Tampa Bay Rays, (2-2) vs the Toronto Blue Jays, (3-0) vs the New York Yankees in the AL, and (2-5) vs the New York Mets, (3-4) vs the Atlanta Braves, (3-4) vs the Philadelphia Phillies, (2-4) vs the Los Angeles Dodgers & (4-2) vs the San Diego Padres in the NL. A collective (19-24) vs 2022 playoff teams.

This Cardinals team had no real momentum going into the postseason. While winning the division was awesome, and the regular season was full of wonderful memories & moments, the playoffs reflected more on a team that looked burnt out more than a team that had caught fire.

Jose Quintana photo credit : Joe Puetz/Getty Images

Granted, outside of Jose Quintana’s 5 innings of shutout baseball & Juan Yepez’ HR in Game 1 there wasn’t much to get excited about. The fact is I’m used to seeing the dugout as fired up as the crowd at Busch Stadium (especially in the playoffs) and I just didn’t see it.

In no way am I implying the guys on this team didn’t want it bad enough, or didn’t have the talent to do better, but something was definitely lacking.

I’m sure I sound a lot like many from our spoiled fanbase in saying, that while I love the fact the St. Louis Cardinals are always in the mix in October, that 2011 gets further away each season. The “feel good” stories in St. Louis this year, honestly does ease some of the disappointment in how it ended. I’m thankful for the season we had, but I’m also ready to see the Cardinals be that team that takes it to the next level to be a World Series contender. And (plain & simple) we just aren’t there… yet.

To quote a Green Day song “Wake me up when September ends”, the Cardinals never did wake up. And I’d just as soon take a nap and have someone “wake me up, when October ends”, so we can put 2022 in the rear view and start focusing on the off-season & things this front office & team can do make 2023 a better one.

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