ST. LOUIS, Mo. (Baseball StL) -- As the Cardinals prepare for game four against the Washington Nationals, they appear to be in the best shape of all the teams still alive in the World Series chase.
So many things have fallen in the Cards favor that it’s almost hard to believe. They had the controversial infield fly rule in Atlanta, the missed call at first base in game three against the Nats, Steven Strasburg benched by Washington and Johnny Cueto left the Cincinnati/San Francisco series with an injury that would keep him out of the NLCS.
And of course the Cards have also seen Pete Kozma morph into the second coming of Honus Wagner. If a team needs a few breaks along the way to win a championship, the Cardinals have certainly gotten their fair share.
If the Cardinals can get past the Nationals in game four with Kyle Lohse, it would give them a couple of days off before the start of the NLCS. More importantly, it would allow them to arrange their optimal pitching rotation for the next series. They could start Adam Wainright in game one of the NLCS, Chris Carpenter in game two, Lohse in game three, Lance Lynn in game four and then come back with Wainwright and Lohse for games six and seven if necessary.
The bullpen has had a chance to catch its breath so far in the Nationals series with Trevor Rosenthal emerging as a guy Mike Matheny won’t hesitate to put into a game in any situation. Who needs that crazy left handed reliever when Rosenthal comes in throwing 100 mph heat?
The Cardinals are in such good shape right now that they’ve been able to lose Jaime Garcia and not miss a beat. The Cardinals look like the strongest team alive in the postseason. Barring multiple injuries to key players, there’s no reason they can’t repeat as World Champions.