1908 2015

Next Year Is Here?

Friday, October 09, 2015 Michael Shayler

A rivalry that spans 2241 match ups is about to witness a first.

For the first time in the storied rivalry between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs, the teams will meet in a playoff series.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny are about to have an ultimate battle of great baseball minds. Image courtesy of ux.usatoday.com
The Cardinals enter this series fresh off winning a third straight National League Central division title after holding off late surges by both Pittsburgh and the Cubs and are owners of baseball's best overall record at 100-62.

St. Louis is seeking a fifth straight appearance in the National League Championship series and a third appearance in the World Series over the past five seasons.

The Cubs, owners of baseball's third best record (97-65), earned their first playoff berth since 2008 defeating Pittsburgh in the NL Wild Card game behind yet another Jake Arrieta masterpiece in which he became the first player in postseason history to throw a shutout while striking out 10 or more hitters and walking zero.

The stakes have never been higher as the winner of this latest series goes on to play for a chance (and would be probable favorites) to represent the National League in the World Series.

When you bring together these two rival franchises with such rich cultures and rabid fan bases along with an added playoff element, something special is awaiting.

This series will have a World Series type atmosphere especially for the Cubs and there fans.

Cubs fans have heard it all.

107 years this, 1908 that.

The Cubs will find a way to choke like always and blah blah blah.

The opportunity the Cubs have been waiting for has arrived. A time to prove their worth and knock off their biggest nemesis when it counts most.

And quite frankly, the Cubs could not have asked for a better time to matchup against the Cardinals.

September saw the Cardinals start to get healthy.

The returns of pitcher Adam Wainwright and first baseman Mat Adams off the 60 day disabled list along with Outfielder Matt Holiday getting back in the lineup after multiple DL stints over the course of the season had the Cardinals lining up for yet another deep playoff run.

Then cause for concern hit the organization.

Carlos Martinez, who was the ace of the pitching staff while Wainwright sat on DL, was shut down for season with shoulder tightness.

To make matters worse, Catcher Yadier Molina suffered a torn ligament in his left thumb and his status for the playoffs is up in the air.

If unavailable, the loss of Yadier Molina may be too much for Cardinals to overcome. image courtesy of missourinet.com
As resilient as the Cardinals have been this season in successfully dealing with injuries, there may not be a single more important player to a club than Molina is to the Cardinals.

St. Louis is a completely different team when Molina is in the lineup/ behind home plate compared to his back up Tony Cruz. He is the leader of this team and him missing any time or even playing when not at 100% could spell trouble for St. Louis.

Regardless of who plays or who doesn't play, the Cubs need to continue going about their business as usual.

The Cubs enter this series on a nine game winning streak and throw Jon Lester on the mound for Game One in St. Louis.

This is an exact scenario as to why the Cubs brought Lester over during the off season.

All the focus is on Arrieta, and with good reason as he just completed the greatest 2nd half of a season EVER for a starting pitcher in Major League history and is sure to come close to if not win the NL CY Young award.

Even with all the hype surrounding Arrieta, it very well may be Lester and his history of postseason success throughout his career who could be the difference in how far the Cubs advance in the playoffs.

Jon Lester will have a bigger impact on Cubs postseason success than Jake Arrieta and his history making 2nd half performance. image courtesy of cubsinsider.com

The regular season saw the Cardinals victorious in 11 out of the 19 matchups.

However, the Cubs would win four of the final six meetings against St. Louis including a September 18th meeting where the intensity of the rivalry reached a new level.

In an apparent retaliation action to the multiple hitters hit in the series including Dan Haren hitting Matt Holliday in helmet on a pitch that got away, the Cardinals decided to throw behind Cubs star Anthony Rizzo.

Tempers flared and the events prompted manager Joe Maddon to go on a post game tirade, questioning the Cardinals way of playing the game and stating "We don't start stuff but we will finish it".

That was it. At that moment the entire Major League Baseball world was put on notice that this is the Cubs year.

As 15-time wrestling world champion Ric Flair would say "To be the man, WOOOOOO, you've got to beat the man".

That is exactly what will happen in this scenario.

When teams hit that certain psyche that the Cubs have carried themselves with over the second half of the season, it becomes damn near impossible for other teams to overcome.

The Cubs are high atop Cloud 9 and their landing will not come until the end of October.

With Maddons previous statement/warning to the Cardinals, Lester and Arrieta atop the rotation and the offensive fire power the team presents, enough is there to be confident enough to say "Next year is finally here".

Yes, as much as I'm kicking myself for saying this outloud, the Chicago Cubs will win the 2015 World Series and the path begins with a triumph over the team that has been stepping all over them for years.

I'll just leave this right here. image courtesy of sportsmockery.com

CUBS DEFEAT CARDINALS CONVINCINGLY IN FOUR GAMES AND WILL CELEBRATE IN FRONT OF A ROCKING CROWD AT WRIGLEY FIELD.

CUBS DEFEAT THE NEW YORK METS IN FIVE GAMES.

CUBS DEFEAT THE KANSAS CITY ROYALS IN SEVEN GAMES TO ERASE 107 YEARS OF MISERY FOR BOTH THE CITY AND FRANCHISE.

MY ONLY CONCERN.....WHERE WILL THEY FIND A BIG ENOUGH AREA FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP PARADE?




You Might Also Like

0 comments

Instagram

Contact Form