The St. Louis Cardinals are one game away from reaching the NLDS again.
There is a reason the St. Louis Cardinals have won more World Series than any other NL team.
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the Redbirds, but a winning tradition is in their blood once the calendar approaches and flips to October. Though it’s been about a decade since they last won a World Series, they have the postseason culture necessary to win multiple playoff series in the craziest year of our lives. By clipping the San Diego Padres on Wednesday, they’re one step closer.
Game 1 was a microcosm for why nobody wants to play St. Louis in October.
The amount of times the Cardinals have been counted out or not taking seriously as a postseason threat and they have come back to burn your favorite MLB team are innumerable. This team had the worst coronavirus outbreak of any in baseball this year, and they are now one win away from winning yet another postseason series over a team that is probably better than them.
For whatever reason, this organization never feels the pressure in October. Sure, they may come across a team that is truly better than them, such as the 2019 Washington Nationals or the 2013 Boston Red Sox. However, the Cardinals will always take advantage of a green baseball team that is insecure about its overall postseason viability. The Padres were sadly their latest victims of this.
While the Padres are capable of winning back-to-back games to avoid elimination, the Redbirds have the NL West’s feel good story of the summer right where they want them. By putting four runs across in the first inning and two more in the third knock Padres starting pitcher Chris Paddack out of the ball game, the Cardinals took immediate control of this best-of-three series.
Even if the Cardinals drop Game 2 in this best-of-three series to the Padres, the pressure is still firmly on San Diego, just how St. Louis intended. No matter the manager, no matter the opponent, no matter the season, the Cardinals do a better job of playing loose than probably any team in baseball from one October to the next. They’re not always there, but they’re never afraid to play.
What makes this team so interesting is they might be able to get inside of the heads of the Los Angeles Dodgers should both clubs advance to the NLDS. The Dodgers are quickly becoming the Buffalo Bills of baseball. They have a great team, but haven’t won a World Series in their domination of the NL West standings the last eight years. St. Louis could be the one to end them.
Though they might be an average postseason team, the Cardinals remain a frightening underdog.