Last October the Cardinals lost the World Series in devastating fashion to the Boston Redsox. Now they find themselves in a position to avenge that loss. When the San Francisco Giants head to St. Louis to take on the Cardinals it will not just be a battle of the two best remaining teams in the National League Championship Series (NLCS), it will be a series between two of the best in this decade.
Since 2010 the Giants and the Cardinals have accounted for three of the four World Series championships, and the Cardinals were in last year before losing to the Boston Redsox. That means that every single World Series in this decade has featured one of these two teams, and that streak will obviously continue this season since it is down to only them. The last time these two-faced off in the NLCS was 2012. That series saw the Giants come back from a three games to one deficient and win game seven. In those final three games the Giants outscored the Cardinals 20-1.
In the last calendar decade, since 2004, one of these two teams have accounted for seven out of ten of the National Leagues’ World Series teams. It truly is a battle of the two best in the league. The teams took different routes to get to the NLCS, but there was little doubt from most fans who the final two would be.
In a direct contrast the American League Championship Series features two teams that have not made the World Series since the 80s. The Kansas City Royals and the Baltimore Orioles are the two teams from the American League battling for a spot in the World Series. The Royals made it in 1985 and won the World Series, and the Orioles made it and won it in 1983.
So while the ALCS is more akin to a blast from the past, the NLCS is a battle of the two best in the last decade. Two different series, four great teams battling to be the best and win the fall classic.
The Cardinals were the Central Division champions and they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in just four games. It was not much of a struggle for the defending champions, and the best team in the division. The Giants on the other hand had a much tougher journey to make it to the NLCS. The Giants were the second Wild Card team. That meant that they had to fly across the country to face the Pittsburg Pirates in a one game play off. The winner of that game got to take on the Number one seed in the National League, the Washington Nationals. After shutting out the Pirates, the Giants moved on to Washington. In a strange sequence of events, both the Cardinals and the Giants punched their tickets to the NLCS in very similar ways. Both teams won the series in game four. Both teams won game four 3-2. Both teams won the game with a ground ball to the short stop who made the play at first base. It seems like these two teams were meant to play each other.
The series between these two heavy hitters begins on Saturday in St. Louis at 8pm eastern time. The Cardinals will start their ace pitcher Adam Wainwright. The Giants have yet to announce their starting pitcher. No matter the starter, both teams look to make it back to the fall classic. The NLCS will be a battle between two of the best teams in this decade, and the stakes are high as both teams look to cement a dynasty.
Commentary by Andy Lapic
Kansas City Reporter
Photo by Karen Blaha –Flicker License