The Cardinals have been here before, down to the wire and their backs against the wall. They spent the month of September trailing the Atlanta Braves and battling their way back into the playoff race. They were ten and a half games back near the end of August and were just a few games over .500 in late July. Their story is one of perseverance and determination. Their story is a haunting reminder of what could have been for the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Rays faced similar odds at the beginning of September, and also made a last month charge to make the playoffs. They entered the playoffs on a similar wave of momentum and were able to sustain it for one game. The Cardinals were able to sustain it all the way to the World Series. The biggest difference between the two clubs: the offenses. The Cardinals have averaged over five runs a game in the postseason and have scored 12 or more three times. In the regular season they scored 55 more runs than the Rays. The Rays and Cards had almost identical bullpens, but the Rays had better starting pitching. That starting pitching failed to get it done in the postseason and the Rays are spectators for this World Series.
This has been an exciting World Series and it looks destined to go seven games. Both teams have made big plays and at other times have failed to execute. The Rangers have played a lot like the Rays scratching out late inning wins and, other than the outburst in game three, holding the Cardinals lineup in check. The Cards have shown the same fight and spirit that the Rays did just in making the playoffs and have used that making it to the World Series. I look at both of them and think to myself, why aren’t the Rays here?