Originally Posted by GOOCH
Here is what I would argue. For *alot* of the regular season, the Cardinals were a bad team. They were, in fact, a worse team than an 83 win regular season would indicate. For the bulk of the Summer, this was a sub .500 team. However, as Don Rumsfeld has noted, you go to war with the army you have...not the army you want. And that's what the Cardinals did. Why were they so bad? They had injured players that spent *waaay* too many games starting for the Cards. Izzy blew save after save because he was trying to pitch on an arthritic hip. Mulder blew game after game trying to pitch with a bumb shoulder. We spent two months without Jim Edmonds. We spent two months without David Eckstein (and about 4 weeks of him trying to play through post-concussion syndrome...he played horribly). And Rolen cost us down the stretch by playing with a fatigued shoulder. And, oh yes, we kept trotting out Jason Marquis day after day...despite the fact that he sucks. Oh....he sucks bad.
Well, those aren't the Cardinals you are seeing in the playoffs. You are looking at a Cardinals team with a now-tested and *dominant* closer in Adam Wainwright. You are seeing a team with a solid set-up man (who spent most of the regular season closing for the Memphis Redbirds) who pitches well against lefties and righties in Josh Kinney. And you see two lefty setup men who pitched like rookies for most of the regular season but have pitched like established veterans since the post-season started. As for offense, Jim Edmonds has returned to form and is contributing. Eck has yet to contribute, but he's taking tough at-bats and is playing a good short. Rolen seems to have recovered. And Chris Duncan, another guy we only had for half a season, is contributing with his bat.
This is not the team that stumbled to 83 games. Had we had this team intact for most of the season, we wouldn't have only won 83 games. This team has more akin to the 100 win teams of 04' and 05' than it does to the regular season 06' Cards. D.GOOCH
Teams, like hominids, evolve. In June the Cardinals were Java Man. In October Homo sapiens. It's that simple. Dumping Izzy meant they stood upright and mastered the use of the opposable thumb.
(I think the Reds will see a similar evolutionary moment when Griffey--the vestigial tail--is removed).