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Comeback

Cards!

The St. Louis Cardinals Amazing Run To The 2011 World Series Title!


Comeback

Cards! The St. Louis Cardinals amazing run to the 2011 World Series Title!

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Comeback Cards!

A Season of Destiny Takes Shape

CONTENTS

8

2011 Regular Season

A September to Remember

40

The Cardinals Historic Dash to the Postseason

Red Alert

50

Cardinals over the Phillies 2011 NLDS

Birds Spill Brew

62

Cardinals over the Brewers 2011 NLCS

Eleven Heaven

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Cardinals over the Rangers 2011 World Series


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Comeback Cards!

FOREWORD

It’s not often you get to witness history unfold in front of your eyes, or see something that’s never happened before, and probably never will again, but that’s what the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals treated baseball fans in their backyard and the entire globe to in one of the most epic, exciting and mind-blowing championship drives in the history of any sport, anywhere. This team simply refused to ever believe that the impossible was not within their reach. Trailing in the wild card race by over ten games with a little more than a month of games left to sneak into the playoffs; no problem. Rallying from two-run deficits, twice, in the last three innings when they were down to their final strike in the Game 6 World Series masterpiece that Cards fans still get chills over; piece of cake. And there isn’t a Hollywood screenwriter that would have the guts or imagination to dream up this little side story- the World Series MVP is a hometown kid who put the team, the city and everything but the Arch on his shoulders and epitomized what refusing to give up means. From this day forward you can Google the word ‘clutch’ and the smiling face of David Freese is going to appear on your screen. Hats off to a remarkable team and a fan base without peer. Cards fans are in Eleven Heaven. The 11th World Series Championship in franchise history comes in the year 2011, and if and when number 12 ever comes along it’s going to have one very tough act to follow. Enjoy this look back at a season and team that will never be forgotten. Tom Zenner @tomzenner Editor in Chief Rylin Media

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A Season of Destiny Takes

Shape

8

2011 Regular Season


Season Record: 90-72 2nd Place in NL Central Wild Card Playoff Team 9


2011 St. Louis Cardinals Preseason Expectations If all championship teams have to overcome distraction and adversity at some point during their season, then the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals got theirs out of the way early. Before any of their bags were packed for Spring Training in Florida all anyone in the sports world could talk about was the impending free agency of one of the the greatest hitters the sport has ever seen, Albert Pujols. With 2011 being the final year of his contract, Pujols made it known that if a deal could not be struck prior to the start of the season, he would not talk about the situation again until the offseason. Media and fans alike were buzzing to get the inside scoop on negotiations. How were they going? Were the two sides making any progress? Would Cardinals fans have to bear the gut-wrenching, almost unthinkable reality of seeing their beloved superstar in a different uniform come 2012? When Pujols reported to Jupiter, Florida for Spring Training cameras followed him all over the ballpark. Getting out of his car. Walking to the locker room. Everybody in the proud Cardinal’s organization, from front-office staff to coaches to players, were constantly being asked about the situation. How did they think it would play out? Could they envision Albert leaving and not finishing his career in St. Louis? This is the very definition of distraction. And then came the adversity. Less then two games into the spring schedule, Cards’ co-ace Adam Wainwright was laid up in the hospital with a bum elbow having season-ending Tommy John surgery. To outduel the brash and powerful Milwaukee Brewers, who’d added former Cy Young winner Zack Grienke to help support their explosive one-two offensive punch of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, was already going to be tough enough. But without Wainwright? Along with Chris Carpenter, Wainwright was going to be heavily de10


pended upon as one of the Cardinals’ marquee players. A frontline like that can take a team a long way. It’ll keep you in a lot of games when the offense is dragging, and make you nearly impossible to beat when the bats are hot. But now everything had changed. Throw in the fact that Nick Punto, who’d come to St. Louis in the offseason to help stabilize the infield, was going to be out for at least the first month with a sports hernia, and suddenly the perception was that the Cardinals were simply trying to stay afloat. But in the back of everyone’s mind, nobody was counting St. Louis out. The Cardinals are one of the four or five organizations in all of baseball that year after year finds a way to be competitive. It doesn’t hurt to have a future Hall of Famer and living legend in the dugout every day, and with Tony La Russa writing out a lineup card that includes the like of Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, and with all-star catcher Yadier Molina handling a pitching staff led by Chris Carpenter, you always have more than a chance. And don’t forget the offseason signing of Lance Berkman. Nobody was expecting Berkman to be the Big Puma of old, but if he could provide the heart of the Cardinals’ lineup with some consistent protection, it would be a big boost to an offense that was suddenly going to have to compensate for the loss of Wainwright. For years the Cards had been the team to beat in the NL Central, and they already had one World Series victory and another appearance in the Pujols era. With the possibility of Pujols leaving town, would he and the St. Louis Cardinals go out with a bang? Or would the distractions and adversity sabotage what on paper appeared to be the makings of a potential champion? Only time would tell.

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Grapefruit League Results

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Mon, Feb 28 Tue, Mar 1 Wed, Mar 2 Thu, Mar 3 Thu, Mar 3 Fri, Mar 4 Sat, Mar 5 Sun, Mar 6 Mon, Mar 7 Tue, Mar 8 Wed, Mar 9 Thu, Mar 10 Fri, Mar 11 Sat, Mar 12 Sun, Mar 13 Mon, Mar 14 Tue, Mar 15 Wed, Mar 16 Thu, Mar 17 Fri, Mar 18 Sat, Mar 19 Sat, Mar 19 Sun, Mar 20 Mon, Mar 21 Wed, Mar 23 Thu, Mar 24 Fri, Mar 25 Sat, Mar 26 Sun, Mar 27 Mon, Mar 28 Tue, Mar 29

vs Florida @ Florida vs NY Mets @ NY Mets vs Washington @ Houston vs Houston @ Florida @ Minnesota vs Boston @ Atlanta @ Atlanta vs Detroit vs Minnesota @ NY Mets vs Atlanta vs Atlanta @ Detroit vs Florida @ Washington @ Houston vs Florida @ Boston vs Washington vs NY Mets @ NY Mets @ Washington @ Florida vs NY Mets vs Florida @ Florida

L W W L W W W L W L W L L W L T W W L W L L W L W L L L W L L

3-6 7 - 1 3 - 2 0 - 3 7 - 5 10 - 2 1 - 0 2 - 7 10 - 4 7 - 8 6 - 1 1 - 2 4 - 7 3 - 2 3 - 13 1 - 1 4 - 0 9 - 4 2 - 5 10 - 4 2 - 3 4 - 5 10 - 3 2 - 7 5 - 3 3 - 16 2 - 3 5 - 6 3 - 1 1 - 4 2 - 4


Stats & Facts Spring Training Offense Albert Pujols Lance Berkman Yadier Molina Jon Jay Matt Holiday Ryan Theriot Skip Shumaker David Freese Colby Rasmus Daniel Descalso Allen Craig

avg/hr/r/rbi .288/3/7/14 .182/1/4/3 .273/0/5/5 .221/1/7/14 .345/2/11/9 .175/0/7/2 .389/0/7/7 .265/2/5/12 .265/3/13/5 .308/1/6/5 .359/3/15/11

Pitching

Win/Loss/ERA/Strikeouts

Chris Carpenter Jaime Garcia Kyle Lohse Jake Westbrook Kyle McClellan Fernando Salas Jason Motte Lance Lynn

2/1 1/3 2/0 1/2 4/0 0/1 1/0 0/2

5.19 6 6.26 13 1.88 15 4.44 8 0.78 16 0.73 8 (2 saves) 9.64 6 4.91 9

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If Opening Day is an indication of how your season is going to go, then the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals looked to be in trouble from the jump. In what could potentially be his final year in the red and white, Albert Pujols grounded into three double plays in an 0-5 performance as the Cardinals lost a 5-3 extra-inning heartbreaker in San Diego. Padre outfielder Cameron Maybin tied the game with a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth to spoil Chris Carpenter’s start, and with that, believe it or not, a championship season had begun. The Cardinals went on to lose two of three to San Diego in that opening series. In fact, after dropping two of three to both Pittsburgh and San Francisco, St. Louis lost its first three series’ of the season. It was not the sort of start Tony La Russa was hoping for. It was not the sort of start Cardinal fans were used to seeing. Still, a Major League Baseball season is the marathon of all marathons. You can’t panic after a few weeks. But with Wainwright out and Pujols slumping (he was hitting .143 through the first nine games, thus sparking speculation that his contract situation was a bigger distraction than he was letting on), and with young guns Allen Craig and David Freese needing more time to feel out their role as big league regulars, the onus fell even more squarely on the shoulders of Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman. Holliday had been hitting all year. But when Berkman, who was supposed to be well into the twilight of his career, smashed a grand slam in St. Louis’ 15-5 over Arizona on April 13, the Cards had finally won their first series. It was Berkman’s fourth home run in the last three games, and it would send St. Louis into a four-game winning streak, including a sweep of the Dodgers, and by the time April had come to a close the Cards had won 12 of 15 and looked to be steaming toward another, typical winning campaign. There were, however, some odd things happening with this team; things that Cardinal fans had probably come to take for granted. Pujols wasn’t hitting like Pujols. Not even close. It wasn’t until a 3-1 victory over San Diego on May 23rd that he was able to end the longest home-run drought of his career at 106 at-bats. And Chris Carpenter was skidding, too. The ace right-hander didn’t get his first win until a 6-4 decision over the Cubs on May 10th. But Kyle Lohse and Kyle McClellan were racking up wins. McClellan, who began the season on the backend of La Russa’s rotation, picked up his sixth win on May 19th to tie for the National League lead and finish off a sweep of the Houston Astros. Lohse, meanwhile, enjoyed a run of going at least six innings in 12 consecutive starts, and on May 29th he tied for the Major League lead with his seventh win after battling injuries for most of the previous two years. Holliday and Berkman were still scorching hot at the plate, but what was really saving the Cards was their ability to close out months. After finishing April on a tear to make up for a sluggish start, St. Louis closed out May and rolled into the summer by winning 11 of 15. And suddenly, there were all kinds of reasons for excitement. John Jay led the NL with a .397 batting average in the month of May, which included three home runs and 12 RBI. Rookie Fernando Salas had started off the year a perfect 10-for-10 in save opportunities. Allen


Stats & Facts Final 2011 Offensive Numbers avg/hr/r/rbi Albert Pujols .299/37/105/99 Lance Berkman .301/31/90/94 Yadier Molina .305/14/55/65 Jon Jay .297/10/56/37 Matt Holiday .296/22/83/75 Ryan Theriot .271/1/46/47 Skip Shumaker .283/2/34/38 David Freese .297/10/41/55 Colby Rasmus .246/11/61/40 Daniel Descalso .264/1/35/28 Allen Craig .315/11/33/40 Rafael Furcal .255/7/29/16 Nick Punto .278/1/21/20

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Craig was taking on spot cleanup duties when Holliday was banged up for a few games, and as a versatile infield/outfield player, he was batting well over .300. Even the fact that Pujols and Carpenter weren’t performing anything like their normal selves was, in a strange way, a good thing, because if the Cards could be leading the NL Central at ten games over .500 (33-23), and be leading the whole league in road victories with 18 heading into Memorial Day, after two months of watching two of their most dependable players scuffle, just imagine what they could be once these two horses inevitably found their form. But then came the dog days of June and July, and the Cardinals started to fall off track. After going on a mini four-game winning streak that included a sweep of the Cubs, St. Louis went on a season-long seven-game losing streak. During that span the Cardinals were swept by the Washington Nationals, and more importantly, their NL Central foe Milwaukee Brewers, who had been by far the hottest team in baseball since early May. The Brewers had all but erased the Cardinals’ division lead during that run, and when Zack Grienke outdueled Carpenter on June 11th; suddenly Milwaukee had pulled to within a half game of St. Louis. The win seemed to mirror the reverse fortunes of the two clubs, as it moved Grienke to 6-1 while dropping Carpenter to 1-6. And on the very next day the Cardinals surrendered the division lead to the Brewers by falling to Shawn Marcum and the Brewers by a score of 5-3. Hot-hitting Allen Craig was also sent to the 15-day disabled list, and though Brewers slugger Prince Fielder was quick to say there was still a lot of season left to play, as the losing rolled on, Cardinal fans were at least starting to worry. St. Louis went on to lose 12 of 15 games, and just when it looked like a reprieve might be on the way with a two-game set against Kansas City, the Cards suffered the biggest blow of all when Albert Pujols’ wrist, which was originally thought to be a sprain, turned out to be fractured. He was in an air-cast and expected to be out six weeks, though he would end up missing less than three. 16


Still, you had to wonder, with Albert already having a down season, at least by his historic standards, was this the backbreaker? The loss of Wainwright was one thing. But with Carpenter failing to notch his third victory until his last start of June, and now with the greatest hitter of his generation, and maybe ever, sidelined for almost a month of what could potentially be the final season of his Cardinal career, were the Cardinals in over their heads? They managed to stay afloat and keep themselves in the thick of the race by playing grind-it-out, nevergive-in Cardinal baseball, and it didn’t hurt that as the All-Star break neared Carpenter was finally starting to pull himself out of the biggest funk of his career. Before the last game of the first half, rookie David Freese, who hadn’t homered in almost three months, did some work with Cardinal hitting coach Mark McGwire and instructor Mike Aldrete, and it paid off to the tune of a two-run, tiebreaking blast that not only gave the Cardinals a 4-2 victory over the Diamondbacks, but also ensured that they would head into the All-Star break tied with the Brewers atop the NL Central. All things considered, Cardinal fans had to be happy with that. After all, you could not overstate the struggles of Pujols and Carpenter. And injuries and inconsistent play from some of the younger guys had forced La Russa to use an unbelievable 80 different starting lineups in the first 82 games. But they were still right there.

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As the second half of the season kicked into gear, the Cardinals lost four of five games. But Carpenter was starting to be the staff leader everyone had come to expect. He won two more games and inched closer to the .500 mark, but now there was a third team in the hunt for the NL Central: the Pittsburgh Pirates. Nobody knew if they were going to be able to stay in the hunt, but it was at least turning into one of the most interesting pennant races. The Brewers were the best home team in baseball, but their woes on the road were definitely a concern. The division appeared open for the taking. But was the wild card getting away? The Braves were streaking, playing very good baseball, and with the Phillies running away with the NL East, it was looking like Atlanta was going to cruise into the playoffs along with only one of the three teams vying for the Central. On August 1st the Cardinals went into Milwaukee for a huge three-game set. Trailing the Brewers by 2 ½ games, St. Louis had added the speedy Rafael Furcal to its lineup and was looking to make a strong late-season run. But Zack Grienke again beat the Cards to run Milwaukee’s winning streak to a season-high seven games. The Cards took the middle game, but the Brewers took the third game, and the series, with a 10-5 win behind Randy Wolf, running their lead over the Cardinals to 4 ½ games. St. Louis did manage to sweep the Marlins in a four-game set, but then they lost two of three again to Milwaukee, this time in their own ballpark. Albert Pujols was able to help St. Louis avoid the sweep with a 4-for-4 effort to keep the Cards within four games of the Brewers, but it felt very fragile. It felt like that lead was just waiting to get bigger, like the Brewers were about to take off any day and leave everyone else in the distance. It was mid-August and St. Louis 18


Stats & Facts Final 2011 Pitching Numbers Chris Carpenter Jaime Garcia Kyle Lohse Jake Westbrook Kyle McClellan Edwin Jackson Fernando Salas Jason Motte Mitchell Boggs Lance Lynn

Win/Loss/ERA/Strikeouts 11/9 3.45 191 13/7 3.56 156 14/8 3.39 111 12/9 4.66 104 12/7 4.19 76 5/2 3.58 51 5/6 2.28 75 (24 saves) 5/2 2.25 63 (9 saves) 2/3 3.56 48 (4 saves) 1/1 3.12 40 (1 save)

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was watching the wild card standings as much as the NL Central standings. There was still a lot of season left to be played, but not that much. Only about six weeks. There certainly was no time for a rough patch, especially not with all the other contenders playing so well. But unfortunately, the Cards endured exactly that. A rough patch. At exactly the wrong time. They lost 8 of 11 games that included a sweep at the hands of the hapless Dodgers, and suddenly, St. Louis was fighting an uphill battle. Heading into another three-game series with Milwaukee to close out August, the Cardinals were on life support. They trailed the Brewers by 10 ½ games in the Central. But they managed to win all three, just enough to keep breathing. The math was still possible. They could still make a run. In the final game of that series, Albert Pujols, who was maybe starting to heat up at just the right time, went 4-for-4 with a grand slam and five RBI. New addition Rafael Furcal led 20


off the game with a home run for the second consecutive day. And Matt Holliday notched the 200th home run of his career. The Cards were way back, but they were still kicking. Still fighting. And if they didn’t end up catching the Brewers, well, technically, they still had a shot at the wild card. They trailed the Braves by the same amount as they trailed Milwaukee heading into that most recent series: 10 ½ games. They called a team meeting in which they said, basically, that they were going to play every game for the rest of the season like it was the last game of their lives, and then see what happened. And what happened, incidentally, was one of the greatest and most unbelievable September comebacks in baseball history. 21


Regular Season Results

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Thu, Mar 31 Sat, Apr 2 Sun, Apr 3 Mon, Apr 4 Tue, Apr 5 Wed, Apr 6 Fri, Apr 8 Sat, Apr 9 Sun, Apr 10 Mon, Apr 11 Tue, Apr 12 Wed, Apr 13 Thu, Apr 14 Fri, Apr 15 Sat, Apr 16 Sun, Apr 17 Tue, Apr 19 Wed, Apr 20 Wed, Apr 20 Thu, Apr 21 Fri, Apr 22 Sat, Apr 23 Sun, Apr 24 Tue, Apr 26 Wed, Apr 27 Thu, Apr 28 Fri, Apr 29 Sat, Apr 30 Sun, May 1 Mon, May 2 Tue, May 3 Wed, May 4 Thu, May 5 Fri, May 6 Sat, May 7 Sun, May 8 Tue, May 10 Wed, May 11 Thu, May 12 Fri, May 13

vs San Diego vs San Diego vs San Diego vs Pittsburgh vs Pittsburgh vs Pittsburgh @ San Francisco @ San Francisco @ San Francisco @ Arizona @ Arizona @ Arizona @ LA Dodgers @ LA Dodgers @ LA Dodgers @ LA Dodgers vs Washington vs Washington vs Washington vs Washington vs Cincinnati vs Cincinnati vs Cincinnati @ Houston @ Houston @ Houston @ Atlanta @ Atlanta @ Atlanta vs Florida vs Florida vs Florida vs Florida vs Milwaukee vs Milwaukee vs Milwaukee @ Chi Cubs @ Chi Cubs @ Chi Cubs @ Cincinnati

L 3-5 L 3 - 11 W 2 - 0 L 3-4 W 3-2 L 1-3 L 4 - 5 L 2 - 3 W 6-1 W 8 - 2 L 8 - 13 W 15 - 5 W 9-5 W 11 - 2 W 9-2 L 1 - 2 Postponed L 6-8 W 5 - 3 W 5 - 0 W 4-2 L 3-5 W 3-0 L 5 - 6 W 6-5 W 11 - 7 W 5-3 W 3-2 L 5-6 L 5-6 W 7-5 L 7-8 W 6-3 W 6 - 0 L 0 - 4 W 3-1 W 6-4 L 4 - 11 W 9 - 1 L 5 - 6


Sat, May 14 Sun, May 15 Mon, May 16 Tue, May 17 Wed, May 18 Thu, May 19 Fri, May 20 Sat, May 21 Sun, May 22 Mon, May 23 Tue, May 24 Wed, May 25 Fri, May 27 Sat, May 28 Sun, May 29 Mon, May 30 Tue, May 31 Wed, Jun 1 Thu, Jun 2 Fri, Jun 3 Sat, Jun 4 Sun, Jun 5 Tue, Jun 7 Wed, Jun 8 Thu, Jun 9 Fri, Jun 10 Sat, Jun 11 Sun, Jun 12 Tue, Jun 14 Wed, Jun 15 Thu, Jun 16 Fri, Jun 17 Sat, Jun 18 Sun, Jun 19 Tue, Jun 21 Wed, Jun 22 Thu, Jun 23 Fri, Jun 24 Sat, Jun 25 Sun, Jun 26 Tue, Jun 28 Wed, Jun 29 Thu, Jun 30

@ Cincinnati @ Cincinnati vs Philadelphia vs Philadelphia vs Houston vs Houston @ Kansas City @ Kansas City @ Kansas City @ San Diego @ San Diego @ San Diego @ Colorado @ Colorado @ Colorado vs San Francisco vs San Francisco vs San Francisco vs San Francisco vs Chi Cubs vs Chi Cubs vs Chi Cubs @ Houston @ Houston @ Houston @ Milwaukee @ Milwaukee @ Milwaukee @ Washington @ Washington @ Washington vs Kansas City vs Kansas City vs Kansas City vs Philadelphia vs Philadelphia vs Philadelphia vs Toronto vs Toronto vs Toronto @ Baltimore @ Baltimore @ Baltimore

L L W W W W L W W W W L W L W L W L L W W W W L W L L L L L L L W W L L W L L L W W W

3-7 7-9 3-1 2 - 1 5 - 1 4-2 0-3 3-0 9-8 3-1 3-2 1-3 10 - 3 4 - 15 4-3 3-7 4-3 5-7 7 - 12 6-1 5-4 3 - 2 7-4 1-4 9 - 2 0-8 3-5 3-4 6-8 0 - 10 4 - 7 4-5 5-4 5 - 4 2 - 10 0 - 4 12 - 2 4-5 3 - 6 0-5 6 - 2 5 - 1 9-6

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Fri, Jul 1 Sat, Jul 2 Sun, Jul 3 Mon, Jul 4 Tue, Jul 5 Wed, Jul 6 Thu, Jul 7 Fri, Jul 8 Sat, Jul 9 Sun, Jul 10 Fri, Jul 15 Sat, Jul 16 Sun, Jul 17 Tue, Jul 19 Wed, Jul 20 Thu, Jul 21 Fri, Jul 22 Sat, Jul 23 Sun, Jul 24 Mon, Jul 25 Tue, Jul 26 Wed, Jul 27 Thu, Jul 28 Fri, Jul 29 Sat, Jul 30 Sun, Jul 31 Mon, Aug 1 Tue, Aug 2 Wed, Aug 3 Thu, Aug 4 Fri, Aug 5 Sat, Aug 6 Sun, Aug 7 Tue, Aug 9 Wed, Aug 10 Thu, Aug 11 Fri, Aug 12 Sat, Aug 13 Sun, Aug 14 Mon, Aug 15 24

@ Tampa Bay @ Tampa Bay @ Tampa Bay vs Cincinnati vs Cincinnati vs Cincinnati vs Arizona vs Arizona vs Arizona vs Arizona @ Cincinnati @ Cincinnati @ Cincinnati @ NY Mets @ NY Mets @ NY Mets @ Pittsburgh @ Pittsburgh @ Pittsburgh vs Houston vs Houston vs Houston vs Houston vs Chi Cubs vs Chi Cubs vs Chi Cubs @ Milwaukee @ Milwaukee @ Milwaukee @ Florida @ Florida @ Florida @ Florida vs Milwaukee vs Milwaukee vs Milwaukee vs Colorado vs Colorado vs Colorado @ Pittsburgh

W L L W W L L L W W L W L L L W W W L W W L L W W L L W L W W W W L L W W L W L

5-3 1-5 3-8 1-0 8 - 1 8-9 1-4 6-7 7-6 4-2 5-6 4-1 1-3 2-4 5 - 6 6 - 2 6-4 9-1 3-4 10 - 5 3-1 2-4 3-5 9-2 13 - 5 3-6 2 - 6 8-7 5 - 10 7-4 3-2 2-1 8 - 4 3-5 1-5 5-2 6 - 1 1 - 6 6 - 2 2-6


Tue, Aug 16 Wed, Aug 17 Fri, Aug 19 Sat, Aug 20 Sun, Aug 21 Mon, Aug 22 Tue, Aug 23 Wed, Aug 24 Thu, Aug 25 Fri, Aug 26 Sat, Aug 27 Sun, Aug 28 Tue, Aug 30 Wed, Aug 31 Thu, Sep 1 Fri, Sep 2 Sat, Sep 3 Sun, Sep 4 Mon, Sep 5 Tue, Sep 6 Wed, Sep 7 Fri, Sep 9 Sat, Sep 10 Sun, Sep 11 Mon, Sep 12 Tue, Sep 13 Wed, Sep 14 Fri, Sep 16 Sat, Sep 17 Sun, Sep 18 Mon, Sep 19 Tue, Sep 20 Wed, Sep 21 Thu, Sep 22 Fri, Sep 23 Sat, Sep 24 Sun, Sep 25 Mon, Sep 26 Tue, Sep 27 Wed, Sep 28

@ Pittsburgh @ Pittsburgh @ Chi Cubs @ Chi Cubs @ Chi Cubs vs LA Dodgers vs LA Dodgers vs LA Dodgers vs Pittsburgh vs Pittsburgh vs Pittsburgh vs Pittsburgh @ Milwaukee @ Milwaukee @ Milwaukee vs Cincinnati vs Cincinnati vs Cincinnati vs Milwaukee vs Milwaukee vs Milwaukee vs Atlanta vs Atlanta vs Atlanta @ Pittsburgh @ Pittsburgh @ Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia @ Philadelphia @ Philadelphia @ Philadelphia vs NY Mets vs NY Mets vs NY Mets vs Chi Cubs vs Chi Cubs vs Chi Cubs @ Houston @ Houston @ Houston

L W L L W L L L W W L W W W W L W L L W W W W W L W W W L W W W W L L W W L W W

4-5 7 - 2 4 - 5 0-3 6 - 2 1-2 2 - 13 4 - 9 8 - 4 5 - 4 0-7 7-4 2-1 8-3 8 - 4 8 - 11 6-4 2-3 1-4 4-2 2 - 0 4-3 4-3 6-3 5-6 6-4 3-2 4-2 2-9 5 - 0 4-3 11 - 6 6-5 6-8 1-5 2 - 1 3-2 4-5 13 - 6 8-0 25


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ALBERT PUJOLS • Put up monster numbers again, ranking 3rd in HR’s (37), Tied for 3rd in runs (105), 7th in RBI (99), 9th in hits (173), 7th in SLG (.541), 13th in OBP (.366), 14th in BA (.299) and T6th with 15 intentional Base on Ball’s. • Albert fell just shy of his 11th-consecutive season with a .300+ average (.299) and 100 RBI (99) • Had a Major League best 40-game on-base streak that ended 9/25. • Made four starts and played in seven games at third base, his first time at that position since 2002. • Had a team season high 45 multi-hit games and 25 multi-RBI games. • Was the N.L. Player of Week 5/30-6/5. • Had walk-off HR’s 6/4 and 6/5 vs. CHI in extra innings. • Collected his 2,000th hit, a double off Carlos Marmol on 7/29 vs. the Cubs. • Hit a 465 ft HR 8/14 vs. COL, the longest HR at Busch Stadium. • Hit his 30th HR on 8/16 at PIT, his 11th consecutive season with 30+ HR, and became the only player in M.L. history to begin his career with 11-straight 30+ homer seasons.

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Champs Chat

Every time you get to pitch Opening Day, it is exciting, I don’t care if you’re 22 or 40. To do what we do and start the season, the excitement of starting the season and the excitement that comes to this ballclub and that stadium and the city when baseball season starts, it’s an exciting thing. I’m looking forward to it, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.

- Cardinals Opening Day Starter Chris Carpenter (On opening day start)

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Champs Chat

I look at the best case and look at the worst case, and there’s a big difference in the two. If the worst-case thing happens to us, we’re not going to contend. How much of that is controllable? I think quite a bit of it is, but not all of it. So best case, we could be good. How much of that is controllable? A lot of it, but not all of it. Health is one of those things. - Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa (March 29th Assessing his team before Opening Day)

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Stats & Facts • Manager Tony La Russa is in his 16th season as Cardinals skipper (33rd overall), the longest active streak among major professional sports head coaches. • With the Cardinals, La Russa has guided his teams to a franchise record 1,408 wins and has led the team to eight division titles, two N.L. Pennants and two World Series Championships. • La Russa has guided the Cardinals to the postseason for the ninth time in his 16-year tenure and the eighth time in the past 12 seasons. • La Russa is the only manager besides Sparky Anderson to have led teams in both leagues to World Series Championships. 30


• Chris Carpenter led the National League in innings pitched (237.1) for the first time in his career and tied for the league lead in games started (34). • 30 of Carpenter’s 34 starts this season were 6.0 IP or more, including 21 which lasted 7.0 innings or longer. He had 21 quality starts. • Carpenter needed two hits or less in his final start to avoid leading the league in hits allowed and threw a two-hit shutout to finish with 243 hits, 2nd in the N.L. • His 191 strikeouts mark his second highest total in his career (213 in 2005). 31


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Champs Chat

“

I still feel like we have a run in us of some really good baseball, so you never know when something like that will start. Certainly the last two nights have been a step in that direction.

�

- Cardinals Outfielder Lance Berkman (July 24th following a pair of wins over the Pirates.)

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Champs Chat

I think we’ve got a great offense. I think our pitching staff is solid. And we’re going to play good defense. It’s a very, very solid ballclub, and we’re going to need to be, because the division is going to be extremely competitive.

- Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman (April 1st Following opening day loss to the Padres)

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Champs Chat

“

Everybody out of Spring Training was expecting a lot of us, we struggled the first two weeks of the season, and then we finally put a good month together, and then a couple of the guys got hurt. - Cardinals First Basemen Albert Pujols (July 13th following the All Star Break)

�

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Champs Chat

It’s more fun to be in first place, Opening Day [or any other time]. But it’s four months to go.

- Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa (May 29th on Cardinals 2.5 game lead in N.L. Central)

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37


Champs Chat

As far as us, we have to go out and worry about ourselves. We have to go out there and do whatever we do to win ballgames. Everything is big for us from now on. It doesn’t matter what they do. We have to win ballgames.

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- Cardinals Reliever Jason Motte (August 28th as the Cardinals prepared for 3-game series against the Brewers)


Champs Chat

I’m not going to get moved, basically I think the ship has sailed. I really do. I don’t want to be moved. I don’t think they want to move me. Obviously ‘Mo’ has an obligation as the general manager to listen to any [offers]. But certainly I think both sides, myself and the Cardinals, we’re on the same page with this.

- Cardinals Outfielder Lance Berkman (On August 30th, discussing possibility of being traded)

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A September to

Remember

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The Cardinals Historic Dash To the Postseason!


41


After the win over the Brewers, the craziest September run in baseball history began, ironically, with the Cardinals losing three of four. The Reds got

them twice, and then Milwaukee kicked off yet another late-season series between the division rivals with a 4-1 victory to push their lead over St Louis back to 10 ½ games. Milwaukee was starting to seize control on the division, but the wild card was still tenuously within reach. And the Cardinals were embarking on a 30-day rampage to go and grab it. And they immediately got hot. Really hot. And at the very same time, Atlanta went ice cold. And best of all, the two teams were steaming toward a head-on collision. Starting September 9th the Braves were going to be in Busch Stadium for a three-game set, and though the Cardinals were still trailing Atlanta by 7 ½ games, you still got the feeling that a sweep could suddenly make this race very, very interesting. Of course, Atlanta had the same opportunity. A sweep for them, or even to take two of three, would all but end the Cardinals’ already faint wild card hopes. It was one of those priceless regular-season series’ with a playoff vibe, and while everyone will remember what the Cardinals eventually went on to do, the most important game of the season may have came on September 9th, the opening game of the Braves/Cardinals series. With the Cardinals trailing 3-1 and down to their last out in the bottom of the ninth, Albert Pujols came up with the bases loaded. Pujols was back to hitting like Pujols, and had already collected a pair of hits on this night. But this was the at-bat. If this was going to be his last year in St. Louis, would he want to go out by leaving the tying runs in scoring position in a game of this magnitude? You got the feeling that this was the turning point of the season. If Pujols comes through, as everyone in St. Louis was praying he would do, the Cards pull to within 6 ½ with 18 games to play. If he doesn’t, they go to 8 ½ back. That’s obviously a huge difference, and who else would Tony La Russa rather have at the plate with that much on the line? For that matter, who else would any manager of any team rather have at the plate? Nobody. Albert Pujols is the man. He’s always been the man. And on this night, he was the man again, lacing a base hit to right field just inside the foul line to score two and tie the game at three. The fans in Busch Stadium went bonkers. And one inning later, it was Nick Punto who validated the dramatics with a gamewinning sacrifice fly to really kick off this historic playoff push. One night later Lance Berkman continued his streak of consecutive plate appearances reaching base to seven, and closer Jason Motte stranded the tying run at third to lock down a 4-3 win for the Cardinals and take the Braves’ lead down to just 5 ½. After the game Berkman was excited, but said that if the Cardinals came out and laid an egg in the series finale, these last two wins might all become a moot point in an ultimately disappointing season.

42


Stats & Facts Offense Albert Pujols Lance Berkman Yadier Molina Jon Jay Matt Holiday Ryan Theriot Skip Shumaker David Freese Allen Craig Daniel Descalso Allen Craig Rafael Furcal Nick Punto

Pitching

Chris Carpenter Jaime Garcia Kyle Lohse Jake Westbrook Kyle McClellan Edwin Jackson Fernando Salas Jason Motte

avg/hr/r/rbi .355/5/18/20 .374/1/16/13 .341/2/9/14 .303/2/14/5 .254/3/8/8 .226/0/3/5 .215/0/5/5 .284/2/11/11 .327/5/12/12 .264/1/35/28 .315/11/33/40 .255/7/29/16 .278/1/21/20 Win/Loss/ERA/Strikeouts 3/0 2.15 37 3/0 2.64 24 2/0 1.37 22 1/2 4.30 20 2/1 7.71 6 1/0 3.58 24 0/1 2.19 11 (1 save) 2/0 4.73 14 (8 saves)

But, he went on to say, “if we can find somehow win the game tomorrow, then it gets really interesting.” The Cardinals did win. And things did, to put it mildly, get very, very, interesting. Following that win the Cardinals were able to string together nine victories over their next thirteen games, and all the while, the momentum was building. With an equally intense chase happening on the American League side, baseball was enjoying one of its most electrifying Septembers to date. After suffering the sweep at the hands of the Cardinals, and another loss to the Marlins, the Braves rebounded to win three of their next four. But then they followed that up by reversing that column, losing three of their next four, allowing the Cardinals to slowly but surely creep closer and closer. And so the drama built. And built. Two weeks earlier the Braves were basically planning out their postseason rotation, and the Cardinals were making tee times. But oh how the tides had turned. After Atlanta lost 4-0 to Florida on September 21st, the Cardinals were suddenly within 1½ games of the wild card. Every baseball fan in America was going to watch this final week form the absolute edge of their seat. So much hung in the balance. The fates of two proud franchises, the Braves and the Cardinals, with the possible end of the Pujols era in St. Louis looming as a backdrop. You couldn’t write this stuff. The Cards won two onerun games against the Cubs, the latter of which came courtesy of a Rafael Furcal tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning, while the Braves continued to lose games at an unthinkable pace. After Atlanta lost to Philadelphia on the next-to-last day of the regular season, and the Cards capitalized with a victory over the Astros, the dream scenario for baseball fans everywhere, especially those in St. Louis, had come true. With 43


one game to play, the Cardinals and the Braves were tied for the wild card lead. It would all come down to the final day of the regular season. And whom else would the Cardinals rather have on the mound than Chris Carpenter. St. Louis did their part by scoring five first-inning runs to help Carpenter to a complete-game, 8-0 shutout over the Astros. But the champagne remained on ice until the outcome of the Braves game became final, and of course, the Braves had to go into extra innings. After the way this last month had played out, what else would expect? Atlanta first blew a one-run lead in the ninth, and then in the 13th inning Philadelphia’s Hunter Pence delivered the eventual game-winning hit. And finally, the curtain came down on one of the great dramas the game of baseball has ever delivered. The Cards, improbably, were in the playoffs after trailing by 10½ games less than a month earlier. And to think, the run was just getting started.

44


Champs Chat

We’ve been playing playoff scenario baseball for the last couple weeks. I think when this is all over this year, whenever that is, I’ll look back and realize exactly what kind of run we went on.

- Cardinals Third Baseman David Freese

I’ve been on historic runs before, maybe not coming from 10 back, I don’t want to say it’s old hat, but when you get on a roll like that, you know that anything is possible. There are so many similarities between the ‘04 team that was able to come way back and this team.

- Cardinals Outfielder Lance Berkman

45


Stats & Facts • The Cardinals went 15-5 over their final 20 games. • The Cardinals clinched their second Wild Card berth by winning each of their final seven series. • Trailing Atlanta by 101/2 games on August 25th, the Cardinals became the fourth team to overcome a deficit of 10 or more games to win the wild card. • The Cardinals completed their 120th season of play in the National League with a 90-72 mark, finishing 2nd in the N.L. Central. • Tuesday games were the most successful for the Cardinals with a record of 16-10, while Wednesdays were their toughest day with a record of 10-15. • The Cardinals finished second in the N.L Central for the 17th time. • The season marked the 28th time the Cardinals finished with 90 or more wins. • The Cardinals posted nine shutout wins and were held scoreless 8 times. • In extra-inning games the Cardinals finished just 8-13. • The Cardinals had a winning record in all but one month. 46


Champs Chat

Something historic needed to happen, Atlanta needed to fall. We needed to have the best month we’ve ever had since I’ve been here as a Cardinal, and it happened. Finally, it happened. We thought it could happen every single month, and it just never did. We’ve taken hit after hit all year, and we deserve this. This is more gratifying than anything to me.

- Cardinals Second Basemen Skip Schumaker

We came from so far back. It’s nice to be part of history because the club deserved it. We were great for four months, and we had a little bad period. We really came charging back. Adversity was something that we embraced.

- Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa

47


Champs Chat

“

Once we got within hailing distance, the game of baseball is what it is, we kept doing things that gave us a chance. A winning record against winning clubs. We just kept cranking out extra wins, and it made the thing look better and better.

�

48

- Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa


Champs Chat

We’re just glad we have a chance to play in October.

- Cardinals First Baseman Albert Pujols

It was exciting, there’s no doubt about it, the way these guys have played the past month-and-a-half has been amazing, every single night grinding, playing their butts off, not giving up. We continued to give ourselves an opportunity and now we are here.

- Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter

49


Red

Alert! 50

Cardinals over the Phillies 2011 NLDS


3 Games to 2

Game 1 - October 1 - Cardinals at Phillies

L

6-11

Game 2 - October 2 - Cardinals at Phillies

W

5-4

Game 3 - October 4 - Cardinals vs Phillies

L

2-3

Game 4 - October 5 - Cardinals vs Phillies

W

5-3

Game 5 - October 7 - Cardinals at Phillies

W

1-0 51


Comeback Cards! Looking to ride the runaway momentum of one of the craziest, epic, and memorable September runs in baseball history, the Cardinals went into Philadelphia for Game 1 of the National League Division Series with nothing to lose. With their meaty lineup and dominant pitching staff led by the incomparable Roy Halladay, the Phillies were the ones who’d assembled a supposed juggernaut. For them, it was World Series or bust, everything riding on the next week of games to determine if their season were a success or a colossal failure. But the Cardinals were playing with house money. Nobody expected them to win. Heck, twenty days ago nobody expected them to be in the playoffs at all. The Red Birds didn’t have an ounce of pressure on them, and in Game 1, it showed. With two on and two out in the top of the first inning, Lance Berkman sent a 410-foot blast into the right field bleachers to give St. Louis a quick 3-0 lead on Roy Halladay and silence the raucous Philadelphia crowd. It was the first three-run homer surrendered by Halladay in more than three years, and it gave the Cardinals the lead until the sixth inning. To that point Cards starter Kyle Lohse had given up just one run, but after Jimmy Rollins and Hunter Pence singled, Philly slugger Ryan Howard returned the two-out, three-run homer favor to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead that turned into an 11-3 lead in the blink of an eye. And just like that, the Cardinals were down 1-0 in the series. Coming in, the goal was merely to get a split in Philadelphia, but after getting out to such a quick lead on Halladay, this was a game the Cards let get away from them. For any team trailing 1-0 in a best-of-five series, Game 2 is basically a must-win situation. The prospects of going into a two-game hole, regardless of the fact the series would eventually shift to St. Louis, made winning this second contest an absolute must for the Cardinals. There was no margin for error because without a W, they would be in serious trouble and the season would in all reality be hours from being over. And it didn’t start well, as this time it was the Phillies jumping out to a 3-0 first-inning lead, which is often more than enough with Cliff Lee on the mound. But the 2011 Cardinals were nothing if not resilient, and with their backs against the wall, they once again came through. Run-scoring hits by Ryan Theriot and Rafael Furcal, and two separate RBI hits by John Jay tied the score at four. And then it was time for Albert Pujols to put the first of his many stamps on the 2011 postseason with an RBI single to left center that would turn out to be the game winner. Now, after both teams had exchanged body blows, fans settled in for what was shaping up to be a long, exciting heavyweight fight. The series changed settings, to the shadows of the Arch for game 3, and this was shaping up to be a pitchers duel, as it was scoreless through six innings. Cardinals’ starter Jaime Garcia was throwing a gem, as was Philadelphia starter Cole Hamels. But with two outs in the top of the seventh, yet another blow was delivered in what was becoming the series of the three-run homer. Unfortunately for St. Louis, the blow came off the bat of Phillies pinch hitter

52


Stats & Facts Offense

Albert Pujols Lance Berkman Yadier Molina Jon Jay Matt Holiday Ryan Theriot Skip Shumaker David Freese Rafael Furcal Nick Punto

Pitching

Chris Carpenter Jaime Garcia Kyle Lohse Edwin Jackson Fernando Salas Jason Motte Octavio Dotel

avg/hr/r/rbi .350/0/2/1 .167/1/4/4 .211/0/1/1 .167/0/0/2 .222/0/2/0 .600/0/2/1 .600/0/1/3 .278/1/1/5 .227/0/2/1 .167/0/0/0

Win/Loss/ERA/Strikeouts 1/0 3.00 5 0/1 3.86 3 0/1 8.44 4 1/0 3.00 4 0/0 2.45 2 0/0 0.00 4 (2 saves) 1/0 0.00 4

53


Ben Francisco. The Cardinals tried to fight back, but after RBI singles by David Freese and Yadier Molina cut the lead to 3-2, the tying run was stranded at first base as the Phillies went back up in the series 2-1. The night would be full of missed opportunities for the Cardinals, as they left a total of 14 runners stranded on base. Things were looking bleak. Trailing the Phillies two games to one heading into a must win situation at home in Game 4, the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals were back in their comfort zone, with their backs against the wall, down to their last chance. Game 4 will forever be remembered for the game that St. Louis native David Freese officially became a hometown hero, and an energetic squirrel that darted across home plate in the fifth inning. Freese homered and doubled in a four-RBI performance that was the stuff little boys dream of. The homer was the nail in the coffin, as it took the St. Louis lead from 3-2 to 5-2, and nine outs later, the Cardinals had sent the series back to Philadelphia for a decisive Game 5 with a 5-3 victory in front of their delirious home fans. Back to Philly the teams went, with Cardinals fans hoping to win, and Phillies fans expecting to win. Two nights later it came down to this: one game, for all the marbles, each team with its best pitcher on the mound. Roy Halladay vs. Chris Carpenter. Two of the very best baseball has seen in the last twenty years, and former teammates in Toronto. What more could a baseball fan ask for? On paper, you would’ve said that the Phillies had the advantage. They were at home, for starters. 54


And Halladay was going on full rest. Conversely, Carpenter was going on short rest after earning a no-decision in St. Louis’ Game 2 victory. Still, given the star power and magnitude of the game, it was being billed as one of the great pitching matchups in recent memory. And boy, did it ever live up to the hype. After Rafael Furcal led off the game with a triple, Skip Schumaker drove him home with a double to right to give the Cards a quick 1-0 lead. And that was the last time anyone would cross home plate. From that point forward, Halladay was brilliant. But Carpenter was out of this world, becoming the first pitcher in history to throw a complete-game shutout in a Game 5 of the NLDS, and the first pitcher to do it in any deciding postseason game since Jack Morris did it for the Minnesota Twins in the 1991 World Series. “It was some kind of fun,” Carpenter said afterward. And the rest of the Cardinals surely agreed, as they waited patiently in the clubhouse for Carpenter to finish his mountain of interview requests. It’s not often that a pitcher can actually deliver a performance that not only matches the hype, but actually trumps it, but Carpenter had managed to do just that. He had put his team on his back for nine incredible innings, and after their ace entered the clubhouse to a shower of champagne, the Cardinals were once again ready to board a “happy flight.”

Bring on Milwaukee!

55


Champs Chat

I understand we had some struggles during parts of the regular season, but you look at this team and, my goodness, we’ve got as good an everyday lineup as you can run out there. We’ve got several starters that are capable of shutting people down, and sort of a revamped and solid bullpen. And we’re playing good. That’s a good combination.

- Cardinals Outfielder Lance Berkman 56


Champs Chat

“

You know what I saw tonight, actually? I saw Carpenter pitch a good game, I saw Carpenter throw breaking balls, changeups and fastballs. And I saw him move the ball around, and he pitched a real good game.

�

- Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel (Following the game 5 loss)

57


Stats & Facts • Phillies slugger Ryan Howard finished the series just 2-for19, marking the fewest hits and lowest average he’s recorded in a postseason series. • Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter has been the pitcher of record in six 1-0 games, posting a 4-2 record. • Chris Carpenter tossed his third shutout in his last seven outings. Before that run, the righty had recorded just three shutouts over his previous 111 starts -- including the postseason -- dating back to Aug. 15, 2006. • This was the first-ever playoff meeting between the Cardinals and Phillies. • The Cardinals and Washington Nationals were the only two clubs to have winning records against the Phillies this season. • The Cards became just the third team in Major League history to advance with a 1-0 win in the postseason while facing elimination. • The Cardinals are the ninth team overall to win a series-ending game by the score of 1-0, and just the second team to do it when scoring the lone run in the top of the first inning. • St. Louis has advanced from seven of its nine NLDS matchups. • The Cardinals became just the second team in NLDS history to rally from a 2-1 deficit to win the series. • The Phillies had never lost any postseason series in which they led 2-1, winning in each of the past seven instances. • At least one of the two NLDS matchups has been closed out on the road in each of the past nine seasons. • The 2001 season was the last time that both NLDS-winning teams celebrated the series-clinching victory in front of the hometown fans. 58


59


Champs Chat

“

I think [Carpenter] will remember this forever, and so will the Cardinal fans, going into this game against Halladay and winning 1-0.

�

- Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa (Following the epic game 5 win)

60


Champs Chat

I think it’s more determination this time around. When we ‘snuck in’ last time, it was joy. It was excitement. Now, we’re having a great time, but we know what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to go into a tough place like Milwaukee and keep this train going. ... It definitely feels more real, because we’re moving on.

- Cardinals third baseman David Freese

61


Birds Spill

Brew

62

Cardinals over the Brewers 2011 NLCS


4 Games to 2

Game 1 - October 9 - Cardinals at Brewers

L

6-9

Game 2 - October 10 - Cardinals at Brewers

W

12-3

Game 3 - October 12 - Cardinals vs Brewers

W

4-3

Game 4 - October 13 - Cardinals vs Brewers

L

3-4

Game 5 - October 14 - Cardinals vs Brewers

W

7-1

Game 6 - October 16 - Cardinals at Brewers

W

12-6 63


The National League Championship series was a battle of teams that were opposites in tradition and style. The brash and cocky Brewers

from Milwaukee had a total of one World Series banner hanging, but it came almost 30 years ago. Meanwhile the Cardinals were gunning for their 11th World Series championship. The Brew Crew was cocky and confident, while the Cardinals took great pride in doing things the right way. There was however one thing the two teams did have in common; a genuine and real mutual disdain for each other. Wait, that might be putting it mildly. Their battles throughout the regular season and over the past couple years at times turned personal, but when the NLCS started in Milwaukee both teams simply got down to business. There was a World Series berth at stake, and both teams wanted it desperately. Game One featured an impressive comeback; only this time it was the Brewers that rallied late. And they did it behind their power hitting dynamic duo of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. Braun blasted a mammoth 463-foot home run in the first inning and a two run double in the fifth. Fielder followed Braun’s blast with one of his own, and the roof at Miller Field was in jeopardy of being blown off its tracks by a loud and rowdy crowd that believed they were watching a team of destiny. Little did they know that they actually were, but it was the team from St. Louis that lost the opener of this series 9-6 that would turn out to be legendary. Yes, after one game the Comeback Cards had this series right where they wanted it. Trailing one game to zip. In Game Two it was time for the Cardinals to show that while the Brewers might be in “Beast Mode”, the Birds had an unstoppable hitting machine on their team that decided on this night to turn the series around. Albert Pujols had one of the best playoff games of his career, blasting a two-run home run in the first, a two-run double in the third, and an RBI double in the fifth. Than in the seventh he added another double. It was a powerful performance, and it led St. Louis to a 12-3 win, which evened the series and also gave the Cardinals home field advantage. Cards starter Edwin Jackson went 4 1/3 innings, and then turned it over to a bullpen that was starting to make their mark as a dominating force. The sellout crowd in Milwaukee did have one thing to cheer about; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers attended the game, cheering on his buddy Braun. His luck did not run off on the Brewers, and the Cards headed back to St. Louis in the drivers seat. 64


Stats & Facts Offense Albert Pujols Lance Berkman Yadier Molina Jon Jay Matt Holiday Ryan Theriot David Freese Daniel Descalso Allen Craig Rafael Furcal Nick Punto

avg/hr/r/rbi .478/2/5/9 .300/0/4/2 .333/0/5/2 .240/0/7/1 .435/1/6/5 .100/0/0/0 .545/3/7/9 .333/0/1/0 .375/1/1/3 .185/1/5/1 .133/0/0/3

Pitching Chris Carpenter Jaime Garcia Kyle Lohse Edwin Jackson Fernando Salas Jason Motte Lance Lynn Octavio Dotel

Win/Loss/ERA/Strikeouts 1/0 5.40 3 0/1 7.27 8 0/1 6.23 3 0/0 8.53 5 0/0 1.50 6 0/0 0.00 4 (2 saves) 1/0 0.00 1 1/0 2.25 5

65


When the series shifted to Busch Stadium, there was one glaring stat staring in the face of the NL Central champs from Milwaukee. They had lost eight straight road playoff games, a streak that went all the way back to 1982. With Stan Musial making a pregame appearance at home plate via golf cart, accompanied to music from “The Natural”, and flanked by fellow Cardinals Hall of Famers Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and Red Schoendienst, the stars were starting to align for the Cards. Their star pitcher, Chris Carpenter, was making his first start of the series, and while he wasn’t as sharp as he was in the seriesclinching win against the Phillies, he got plenty of help from his bullpen, who pitched four dominating, scoreless innings to cap of a 4-3 win. The Cards did all their damage offensively in the first inning, putting four runs across the plate and putting the power-hitting Brewers on the defensive from the opening bell. The Cardinals were halfway to the Fall Classic, but if there’s one thing this team had learned in a magical season of true destiny, it was to not take anything for granted. Because nothing would ever be easy. Game Four started with an Anheuser-Busch wagon pulled by Clydesdales and loaded with baseballs making a lap around the warning track. Unfortunately for Cardinals fans, that would prove to be one of the few highlights. The Brewers evened the series thanks to a splendid pitching performance by 35-year old lefty Randy Wolf, who kept the Cards hitters off-balance with a variety of pitches, some of which were clocked in the 60-mile per hour range. The Cardinals had a hard time getting anything going, and the 4-2 loss evened the series, and made it a best of three situation, where whoever could get hot in the next few days, would advance. With one more game at home in this series, the Cardinals were determined to turn the tide of the series in their favor. Game 5 separated the men from the boys in this series, as the Brewers felt the pressure mounting and seemed to have no clue on how to handle it. Offensively, they got off to a terribly slow start, and their defense wasn’t much better than their bats, as Milwaukee committed an unbelievable four errors. Meanwhile, the Cardinal hitters teed of on Zack Greinke, who took the loss in the game. All in all it was a fun night. Chuck Berry sang the national anthem, Ozzie Smith threw out the first pitch, 66


Champs Chat

I thought about that in the last inning, about how unbelievable it is to not only be in the postseason, but have the opportunity to go to the World Series three times. I’ve played with many guys who never got to play in the postseason and were around for a long time. It’s a great credit to the organization, ownership and our club.

- Cardinals Pitcher Chris Carpenter

and the Cards scored early and often and cruised to a 7-1 win to take firm control of the series as it made it’s way back to Milwaukee. For the first time in over six months, the Cardinals would not have to do something the hard way. They could end the series in two days. Game 6 of the NCLS in Milwaukee was more of a coronation than anything else. The Cardinals stormed out of the gate, scoring four runs in the very first inning, three off a home run by David Freese and it looked like it would be just a matter of time before the champagne would be flowing again in the clubhouse and another mad celebration would be underway. The Brewers, who led the majors in home runs during the season did what they could early to hang on, but when the Birds put four more runs across the plate in the third inning, it was clear that it would be time to pop the bubbly and Buds very soon. The Cards would pound out 14 hits and crush Milwaukee 12-6 How did this team make it to the playoffs in the first place? How did they get by the mighty Phillies pitching staff in the NLDS? And how did they outslug the Brew Crew in the NLCS? Well, as we all learned in this magical season they did it by being one of the most unique collections of athletes the sport has ever witnessed. All that stood in the way of an 11th World Series Championship would be the Texas Rangers. But if things had been adventurous leading up to this point, we all know now we hadn’t seen anything 67 yet. Bring on the Fall Classic!


Champs Chat

St. Louis has been in the playoffs since I’ve been in baseball, they’ve always been in the playoffs. It’s great to be on a ballclub like this one in St. Louis because you know something special is going to happen. 68

- Cardinals Reliever Octavio Dotel


Champs Chat

When you watch Albert, Lance and Matt, and how they do things, it helps, you’ve got to go one pitch at a time. They don’t throw [at-bats] away. I’m learning every [at-bat] is so crucial, especially in this kind of situation.

- Cardinals Third basemen and NLCS MVP David Freese

69


Stats & Facts • St. Louis native David Freese was named NLCS MVP. • David Freese had a hit in all 6 games of the NLCS. • The Cardinals captured their 18th national league pennant by defeating the Brewers 4 games to 2. • The Cardinals are the 10th Wild Card team to advance to the World Series. • The Cardinals clinched a spot in their 18th World Series. • The Cardinals will have home field advantage in the World Series for the first time since 1982.

70


Champs Chat

It felt like, for me, calling pitches, that Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and all of them were hitting against us, that’s what it felt like. Calling pitches against them is tough, because they’re all over the place. They’re hot. They’re real hot.

- Brewers Catcher Jonathan Lucroy 71


Champs Chat

I just know that we hung tough when a lot of things were going against us, and then we put together this run and even in this run, we had some losses that will break your heart. And the next day they came out [saying], ‘Hey, let’s go get ‘em again’... We had some help here and there, but we made a lot of it ourselves.

72

- Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa


Champs Chat

You play a lot of important games, and you’re in a lot of tight situations… just like anything else, the more you do it, the more comfortable you get in those environments. That’s exactly the type of situation you have to be in to win these playoff games. If you hoe in the garden enough, you get calluses. You kind of get immune to, not the pressure, but the situations that you find yourself in. - Cardinals Outfielder Lance Berkman

73


Eleven

Heaven!

74

Cardinals over the Rangers 2011 World Series


4 Games to 3

Game 1 - October 19 - Cardinals vs Rangers W

3-2

Game 2 - October 20 - Cardinals vs Rangers L

1-2

Game 3 - October 22 - Cardinals at Rangers W

16-7

Game 4 - October 23 - Cardinals at Rangers L

0-4

Game 5 - October 24 - Cardinals at Rangers L

2-4

Game 6 - October 27 - Cardinals vs Rangers W

10-9

Game 7 - October 28 - Cardinals vs Rangers W

6-2 75


If anyone tells you they expected the 2011 World Series to be as mind-numbingly exciting and eventful as it turned out to be, they are either lucky, lying or in possession of one extremely effective crystal ball.

Ironically, the Cardinals have Prince Fielder to thank for them being able to host Game One of the Fall Classic against the Texas Rangers. It was Fielder’s game-winning home run at the All Star Game in Phoenix that ensured the Series would open at Busch Stadium, and no doubt the Cards were feeling the love of the best fans in baseball as this classic Classic commenced. On a blustery, 49-degree night the Cards rode the arm of Chris Carpenter, and their timely hitting to win 3-2 and take a one game to nothing lead in the Series. It was an extremely entertaining game, which was tied at 2 until the Cards got the winning run in the sixth inning, and it was a foreshadowing of what was to come. Game Two showed just how capable either the Rangers or Cardinals were of being able to come back. The Cardinals received tremendous pitching all night from Jaime Garcia and the bullpen, but Jason Motte uncharacteristically allowed two runs in the ninth inning, and that was it. The Series was tied, heading back to Big D, and it appeared that the momentum was packed in the Rangers luggage. As the series shifted to Dallas, fans were probably already thinking about where the parade route would be, as the city hoped to celebrate yet another championship in a phenomenal sports year that saw the Dallas area host the Super Bowl, NBA Finals and World Series. Dirk Nowitzki threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and the Mavericks star probably should have stayed on the mound, because he may have done better than the Rangers pitchers. If Albert Pujols actually leaves the Cardinals after the season, he left a lasting memory of what kind of fury he causes with his bat. Albert simply 76


Stats & Facts 2011 World Series Final Numbers Offense

Albert Pujols Lance Berkman Yadier Molina Jon Jay Matt Holiday Ryan Theriot David Freese Daniel Descalso Allen Craig

Pitching

Chris Carpenter Jaime Garcia Kyle Lohse Edwin Jackson Fernando Salas Jason Motte Lance Lynn Octavio Dotel Jake Westbrook Marc Rzepczynski

avg/hr/r/rbi .240/3/8/6 .423/1/9/5 .333/0/1/9 .111/0/1/0 .158/0/5/0 .077/0/1/2 .348/1/4/7 .667/0/2/0 .263/3/5/5 Win/Loss/ERA/Strikeouts 2/0 2.84 13 0/0 1.80 10 0/0 9.00 3 0/1 5.06 3 0/0 7.36 4 0/1 6.23 1 (1 save) 1/0 6.35 4 0/1 4.91 5 1/0 0.00 0 0/0 0.00 4

77


took over in this game, blasting three home runs and finishing 5 for 6 at the plate, as the Cardinals took back control of the World Series with a 16-7 route. It’s too bad the Cardinals couldn’t have saved some of those runs for the next night. They sure could have used some. Derek Holland was masterful on the mound for the Rangers in Game 4, as he completely baffled Cardinals batters. The Rangers won the game 4-0, and the seesaw nature of the Series continued, now tied at two games apiece. It was the first time in eight years the World Series was deadlocked after four games, and it appeared likely that whoever came out ahead in Game 5, would clearly be in control. The Rangers could not win the World Series on their home field, but they intended on taking a commanding lead. In a game that will be remembered for a lot of odd twists and turns, and ultimately Tony La Russa’s call to the bullpen that did not go through, Cardinal fans were no doubt getting nervous after the 4-2 loss. There was no more margin for error for the Cardinals. The team of destiny would have to come home and find the win78


ning formula that they had found so many times in the past two months. Little did they know the magic that was on tap in three days. After Major League Baseball postponed Game 6 for one day, it turned out to be exactly what the Cardinals needed. It allowed Chris Carpenter to get an extra day of rest in case he was needed for a Game 7, and the Cards were able to get comfortable at home, and find the mojo that had been missing the last two games in Texas. What transpired on this Thursday night in St. Louis is what people will be talking about for generations. Roughly 49,000 or so fans were there, but millions felt they were inside Busch Stadium, and the collective will of the best fans in baseball seemed to carry the team to victory. This is where the legend of David Freese took firm hold. It will be impossible for him to buy a meal or a drink in St. Louis the rest of his life, as the native son saved the season with a two run triple and a game winning, walk off home run. The triple came against one of the best closers in baseball, and the home run set off a celebration that shook Busch Stadium, and the entire city of St. Louis to it’s core. The Cards won 10-9, and it set the stage for Game 7. Winner takes all. For the Cardinals it would be World Series number 11, while the Rangers look for number one. With Carpenter on the hill, the Cards staked him to an early lead in the final game. The Rangers rallied, but from the third inning or so it just felt like it was the Cardinals night. And it was. The win the game 6-2, and with that the dream was complete. The magical season, straight out of Hollywood, ends with delirium for Redbird diehards, and with followers, foes and fans all over the world realizing that thanks to this team, and seeing what they were able to do in the summer and fall of 2011, anything would appear to be possible. As long as you believe!

Even though what we witnessed, was truly unbelievable. 79


Stats & Facts • David Freese hit a two-run double in the first inning of Game 7 of the World Series, setting a new record with 21 RBIs in a single postseason. • In Cardinals’ playoff history, St. Louis has an overall record of 11-4 in Game 7 action, including an 8-3 mark in World Series Game 7’s. 80


• The last time both teams scored in the first inning of a winner-take-all World Series game was in 1945. • Allen Craig joined Albert Pujols as one of just six sets of teammates to hit at least 3 home runs in a single World Series. • David Freese was named World Series MVP. 81


Stats & Facts • The Cardinals 56 overall World Series wins are tops among N.L. clubs. • The Redbirds are 6-1 in World Series games played at Busch Stadium III. • The Redbirds are 13-7 when facing World Series elimination. 82


• David Freese was just the sixth player to win both the World Series and League Championship series MVP. • Texas set a Series record by walking 41 batters, one more than Florida in 1997. • Of the 34 runs the Cardinals scored in the World Series, 11 reached on walks and two more on hit batters. 83


Stats & Facts • The Cardinals will play the first game of the 2012 season, opening the Miami Marlins’ new ballpark on April 4. • The Cardinals became the first team in World Series history to overcome a ninth-inning deficit and an extra-inning deficit in a game. 84


Stats & Facts • This was the first Game Seven in nine years, marking the longest stretch without a winner-take-all final game since the World Series started in 1903. • The Cardinals hold the record for most World Series Game Sevens with 11. • The last nine Game Sevens in the World Series have been won by the home team.

85


Champs Chat

We were all in the clubhouse and we were loose, we were in there hanging out, dancing around, had music playing. We were all like ‘that’s the way we win’ and ‘that’s how we play the best’ and we came out we were able to do it today. It’s just amazing.

- Cardinals Reliever Jason Motte 86


87


Champs Chat

“

When you play in a city like this, where we have the greatest fans in the world, they come out every day and they allowed us to do what we did this year.

88

�

- Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak


Champs Chat

I was hoping to have an opportunity to go ahead and pitch in that game and fortunately it worked out. It started off a little rough in the first, but I was able to collect myself, make some pitches and our guys did an awesome job to battle back. And I mean, it’s just amazing.

- Cardinals Pitcher Chris Carpenter

89


Champs Chat

90

They cleanly beat us, we certainly didn’t give them anything.

- Texas Rangers Manager Ron Washington


That’s probably the way to explain this -- unbelievable, amazing, incredible, the teams we played in the postseason, they’re all great teams. We have great respect for them.

- Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa

91


Champs Chat

I wish everybody in the country could get to know these guys. It’s unbelievable. I’m just glad to be a part of it.

- Cardinals Outfielder Allen Craig

92


Champs Chat

I was hoping to have an opportunity to go ahead and pitch in Game 7 and fortunately it worked out. It started off a little rough in the first, but I was able to collect myself, make some pitches and our guys did an awesome job to battle back. And I mean, it’s just amazing.

- Cardinals Pitcher Chris Carpenter

93


Champs Chat

“

Someone has to win, someone has to lose and the Cardinals did it. They were the better team. They are the world champions. All we can do is come back next year and commit ourselves to it, like they did this year. - Texas Manager Ron Washington

94

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95


Champs Chat

I think the last month of the season, that’s where it started. Different guys were coming up huge, getting big hits, and we carried that into the postseason and here we are, World Champions. 96

- Cardinals First Baseman Albert Pujols


The 2011 team photo of the St. Louis Cardinals should hang in the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Smithsonian Institute, and on the walls of every person in the world that wants to know what resilience, heart, and a spirit of refusing to give up looks like. Simply put, there has never been a path to greatness carved out that is anything like what this collection of players and coaches were able to do, in an absolutely thrilling summer and fall that will never be forgotten. Or duplicated. Led by a legendary manager, who refused to let this team ever stop believing they could be champions, a slugger for the ages, a pitcher who defined what it means to be an ace, a supporting cast of role players, and a hometown hero who put an entire city and team on his back, the Cardinals unfathomable and unforgettable World Series journey proved that they are the ultimate team of destiny. Enjoy this special look back at the 11th World Series Championship in team history, as we bring you all the magic of the epic and historic charge just to get into the playoffs, to the slaying of two giant foes in the National League playoffs, through what some people are calling ‘the most memorable Fall Classic of all time.’ Chances are you still can’t believe what you just saw in 2011. This book is proof that it really did happen, and Cardinal fans can savor the memories created for eternity. $9.99 US $10.99 CAN

www.rylinmedia.com

Comeback Cards!  

The St.Louis Cardinals and Their Amazing Run To The 2011 World Series Title!

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