Monday August, 17, 2015
By: Alec McChesney
The Sports Table
The Saint Louis Cardinals are 7-3 in their last 10 games which brings their overall record to 75-42. An astounding 33 games over five hundred with forty-five games remaining on the schedule. They have a run differential of +123, which is second best to the power hitting Toronto Blue Jays. However, what has really made the Cardinals click this season is their pitching. They rank in the Top 5 in the four main pitching categories. They are currently first in the MLB with a 2.60 team era, second in Quality Starts (79), and fifth in both WHIP and Batting average against. Whether it's luck, skill, or simply the Cardinals way, the team does not look to be slowing down anytime soon. This brings about my current question: Who can stop the Saint Louis Cardinals from getting that ever so elusive 12th Championship?
Let's first look at the team in our own division, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Although the Pirates have played excellent ball this season, they are still 5 games behind the Birds and only 2.5 games ahead of the soaring Chicago Cubs. There are many obstacles in the Pirates path of stopping the Cardinals, but the main one is the Cardinals. The Cardinals recently took two of three from the Pirates and have actually dominated them all season. Following the Pirates, the Dodgers are the team next in line to stop The Birds on the Bat. Led by Greinke and Kershaw, Los Angeles has the ability to defeat any team in a best of 5 or best of 7 series. The biggest issue for the Dodgers heading into the postseason is their offense. If their offense can match the performances of the pitching staff, look for the Dodgers to win the National League Pennant. Although they still have a fight to even make the playoffs, the San Francisco Giants are a team that could knock off the Cardinals. Obviously, as seen in recent history, all that team needs to do is make the playoffs to have a chance to bring home hardware. And, they have seemed to be a bit of a thorn in the side of the Birds over the last few years. We shall see if they are able to catch up to the Dodgers, or hold off the Cubs and Pirates for one of the two National League Wild Card spots.
Heading to the American League, the Kansas City Royals immediately jump out as title contenders and a team who has the assets to defeat Saint Louis in a best of seven. Heading into the trade deadline, the Royals were favorites for the American League Pennant, and they added utility star Ben Zobrist and Ace Johnny Cueto. These additions, pairing up with an already excellent team bode well for the Kansas Royals heading into October. Hopefully for Royals fans, they will be able to party like it's 1985 all over again. Although the Royals have been the class of the American League, no one can forget about the Los Angeles Angels. Any team that has Albert Pujols and sure-fire MVP Mike Trout, has a chance to compete for a World Series. The Halos have been awful on the road which is the reason they currently sit 3.5 games back of the Astros in the American League West. I still give them the benefit of the doubt even though their position looks bleak at the moment. If they make the playoffs, as a division winner or from a Wild Card position, they are immediately a force to be reckoned with. Saving the best for last, the Toronto Blue Jays are a huge threat to the Saint Louis Cardinals title aspirations. Adding Troy Tulowitzki to their already potent line-up creates a fantasy team type line-up for on field play. Not only did the team go out and acquire the top shortstop in the game, they brought in All-Star David Price as well. One thing is for certain, no one wants to see Toronto in the playoffs. In their last nineteen games, the Jays are a ridiculous 16-3 and are only continuing to get hotter.
Personally, I believe that the Royals and the Blue Jays pose the biggest threats to the Cardinals. The Royals have an excellent all-around team and are a lot like the Birds. Because of that, I believe the series would be one for the ages, but with the Royals having a very real chance to pull off the victory. The bigger threat to everyone's aspirations, however, is the Toronto Blue Jays. You took two individuals, in Tulo and Price, who were not playing for playoff teams and added them into the mix for a team that already had unlimited swagger and confidence. This team oozes confidence and the love of winning. Oh, and it also helps that every time through the line-up, a home run is bound to happen.
Thanks for reading, please tell us who you think poses the biggest threat by answering our poll! Give us your feedback by commenting and we will talk October Baseball! For more on the playoffs and all sports, follow the link: www.thesportstable.net