Re: Cardinals are luckiest team in baseball.
Some teams that amass great regular season records with a balanced pitching staff and lineup still might not be great playoff teams.
The 2004 Cards had one great starting pitcher (Chris Carpenter) and four pretty good ones, plus a fearsome offense. They won 105 games in the regular season. Carp couldn't go in the playoffs because of a nerve condition, so we were left with starting the other four. Took seven games to squeak by the Astros and then got swept in the WS by the hot hitting Bosox.
What you generally need to succeed in the playoffs is top line starting pitching. The Giants are a great example of how to build championship teams that way. Their offense is just good enough, they play great defense and their pitching shuts down just about everyone.
Central Division Champions - 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004-6, 2009
NL Champions 2004, 2006, 2011
World Champions 2006, 2011