Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling
The Cards would have lost to the Nationals in Game 5 if that pitch that David Freese looked at in the bottom of the 9th had been called strike 3 like PitchFx said it should have been. Just another lucky break for the Cardinals that allowed them to advance over a better team.
I agree the 2012 Cardinals are not the best example of a bad team doing well in the playoffs, but just look at the last 15 years and you can find a whole bunch of mediocre teams winning championships. Has any team ever gotten beaten so badly in their own division and gone on to win the World Series as the 2012 Cardinals?
Run differential is a very rough and crude indication of how good a team could be, not a metric of how good they really are or how well they actually played on the field during all the unique scenarios and challenges that presented themselves over a six-month season. There is a lot of strategy, skill, talent, craft and experience that goes into winning 95+ baseball games.
The ultimate measure of how good a team played is how many games they won over a meaningful sample size. 5-7 games is not a meaningful sample size in the sport of baseball. 162 games is certainly much more indicative of a team's true talent level.
And let's not pretend that this issue just arose this week. This debate over the luck-based postseason has been going on for 15 years, ever since the first 2nd-place team won a World Series. Writing it off simply as Reds fans having sour grapes this year is way off base. Heck, we had a big thread about it right here on Redszone last year when the Reds didn't even come close to making the playoffs.
I've been thinking some of the things you've written since 1969 when the team with the best record in each league didn't automatically go to the series. As a Reds fan, I remember saying almost all of the same things that you've been saying, but I was using the '73 Mets as my reason for hating expanded play-offs (all the way to 4 teams).
The Cardinals got healthy with their frontline starters Wainwright rounding into form over the season and Carpenter coming back to give strong outings at the end. All season long, the Cards had a better offense and while the Reds had a better closer, the rest of the pen isn't far off the Reds. I'd say with Wainwright back in form and Carpenter pitching, the Cards rotation is at least a push with the Reds. I just don't buy that the Reds are so clearly better. The Run Differential says otherwise and so does a look at the roster. Position for position, I'd give the Reds the edge at 1st, 2nd, 4th OF and closer. RF is probably a push, so is the middle of the pen. The Rotations are close. I'd say the Cardinals are better everywhere else. The Reds may be better at SS wth Furcal out.
I still think this thread is largely in existance because the Reds just tanked and the Cardinals are involved.