St. Louis Cardinals Clinch Playoff Spot

About an hour and change after the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched a postseason birth, the St. Louis Cardinals decided to follow suit. The Cardinals beat the Colorado Rockies 6-3 in a potential first-round preview.

The win gave the Cardinals their eighth playoff appearance in 14 years in under Tony LaRussa.

There were a lot of factors that win into the Cardinals clinching a playoff spot — Albert Pujols’ MVP season, the trades for Matt Holliday and Mark DeRosa or the emergence of Adam Wainwright. For me, the most important factor was Chris Carpenter staying relatively healthy.

Carpenter is 16-4 this season with a 2.30 ERA and a ridiculous 1.01 WHIP. Carpenter has re-established himself as the Cardinals’ ace and is once again looking to win the NL Cy Young award.

It’s no coincidence that when Carpenter wasn’t healthy the last two years, the Cardinals missed the playoffs.

When it comes to the playoffs, I think the most important question for the Cardinals is whether or not closer Ryan Franklin can get the job done in a pressure situation. Remember, Franklin has never pitched in the postseason before.

He has looked terrible in September and closing games against the Los Angeles Dodgers in October is a lot different than closing games in July against the San Diego Padres. 

I was watching the Cardinals – Rockies game last night and you know a guy is shaky when you are not even a fan of the team and you are nervous that he was going to implode at any second.

I just have a gut feeling that John Smoltz might factor into the closing situation as some point during October.

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