This team wasn't supposed to be great.
Even with Furcal at SS, Motte as the closer and Chris Carpenter as the big game stopper, we expected the Cardinals to maybe play for the division title, but probably be a Wild Card.
No worries, right? You've got to get in the tournament to win it.
97 wins in 162 games later, the Cardinals have finished the regular season as one of the top 10 teams in franchise history.
Here are some stats:
+ The St Louis professional baseball team (1882-1898 Browns (Stockings) | 1899 Perfectos | 1900 - Current Cardinals) have played in 132 seasons.
+ 97 wins is tied for the 10th best season in franchise history with 1941, 1948 and 2002 Cardinals.
+ The Cardinals led the league for 2013 in RBIs, Doubles, and .OBP - but didn't have a single player over 25 HRs or 100 RBIs.
+ 8 of the 9 teams in franchise history with more wins, went to the World Series. 5 of those 8 won the World Series.
Again, the Cardinals are without several key players, including Allen Craig who missed most of September and ends 2013 with a .454 average with runners in scoring position.
FOUR FIFTY FOUR!
This guy goes out and it's next man up. Matt Adams is playing so well, people on Twitter are asking if Craig is trade bait... and I don't want to feel sorry for the Cubs... but after leaving town whipped, they have to wonder if Cardinal fans are insane or really insane.
It's an embarrassment of riches as the Cardinals enter the playoffs for the 30th time (counting before 1900) and seek their 12th World Series Championship.
Congratulations on a GREAT season, men.
Take a couple days off. Enjoy these Wild Card games. And we'll see you when the second season begins on Thursday. Should be fun, if history is any guide.