The Cardinals have yet to win a World Series title since 2011.
By Kyle Goessler
The St. Louis Cardinal’s season ended earlier than management, coaches and fans would have liked after the Washington Nationals swept the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series (NLCS).
The Cardinals finished with a 91-71 record after the regular season, winning the NL Central division. The Cardinals would play the Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series, winning the series 3-2, ending the Braves season.
“Despite the deep playoff run, the Cardinals did not meet expectations this season,” Webster student and KMOX Radio Booth Intern Tyler Merkle said. The additions of Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew Miller looked good on paper, but did not solve the team’s problems.”
KMOX Sports Radio Announcer and Webster professor Chris Hrabe believes the Cardinal’s season was a success because of the team making it to the NLCS with some incredible performances along the way, despite the disappointment of being swept by the Nationals.
Webster student and Cardinals usher Luke Seddon said, “I’m proud of the Cardinals because they probably shouldn’t have made the playoffs. We had the fewest wins of any playoff team and still made it to the NLCS.”
The Cardinals scored six runs in the four-game sweep by the Nationals in the NLCS. The Cardinals lineup sputtered at the worst time possible. The team was completely lifeless against the Nationals, according to Hrabe. Hrabe said, “Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna never really clicked together at the same time except for the series against the Braves.”
Merkle said he was surprised by the Cardinal’s pitching this season, especially Jack Flaherty’s. Seddon said the bullpen is so important now because the starters don’t last very long in games. The Cardinals’ bullpen played better than past years and the team had one of the lowest earned run averages in baseball.
“The Cardinals will explore the free-agent market this offseason for a starting pitcher,” Hrabe said. “If the Cardinals add a starting pitcher to the mix of Flaherty, Dakota Hudson, Miles Mikolas and potentially Adam Wainwright, it could make a huge difference to an already exceptional staff.”
Seddon said the Cardinal’s defense is the best in the majors and has helped the starting pitchers, especially Dakota Hudson. The Cardinal’s improved defense has led to six players being finalists for the gold glove at their position.
The finalists are pitcher Jack Flaherty, catcher Yadier Molina, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, second baseman Kolten Wong, shortstop Paul DeJong and center fielder Harrison Bader.
“The Cardinals need to bolster the offense during the offseason, whether that be by free agency or a trade,” Hrabe said.
The Cardinals will offer a one-year $17.6 million qualifying offer to Ozuna. If the Cardinals bolster their offense, Hrabe believes a third baseman or somebody that can play a corner outfield spot. If the Cardinals go this route, they will have to determine what to do with Matt Carpenter, who had one of the worst seasons of his career, according to Hrabe.
“There is a lot to look forward to, but the offense definitely needs to be addressed,” Hrabe said.