Updated: Nov 22, 2020
It's time to look back at every team from around the MLB and what they each showed us during the 60 game sprint!
Before we jump into the blog today, let's talk about the games we saw this weekend. I want to start with the ALCS. We saw a fantastic series. Game 6 was great, seeing the Astros were able to get to Snell and get him out of the game after the 4th, where he had only thrown 82 pitches on short rest. If Snell didn't give up the 4BB, he would have probably gone longer. But Snell got them into the 5th when the Astros got hot and scored 4 runs in that 5th inning. Then they kept it going in the 6th and 7th, scoring another 3. Manuel Margot kept this game interesting, providing an HR in both the 7th and 8th innings. The Ray's left 6 on base in this one and went 0-4 with RISP. On the other hand, the Astro's had contributions from Springer, Altuve, Correa, Tucker, and Brantley in this one. The team went 3-10 with RISP and left 10 on base, and that was different! The Astros tied this one 3-3
Shifting over the NLCS Game 5. The Dodgers won this one with great defense, a catch of the year by Mookie, and Corey Seager going OFF with 2HR and 3RBI. The pitching the Dodgers went within this one was great! Rookie Dustin May who we have seen along in this the Postseason starting, coming on in long relief and throwing gas no matter what, went two strong innings, and then the pen was lights out after him. The Braves were out to an early lead in this one 2-0 going into the 4th, and then Corey Seager and Wil Smith picked up the Pen in the 4th and 6th, and Mookie and Seager sealed the deal in the 7th. The story pitching-wise for the Braves was similar as we saw AJ Minter make his first MLB start going 3IP and getting 7K's, and the Pen and offense could not keep them in this game. Dodgers won, and we have a game 6 on Saturday.
Saturday had some great Baseball starting over in the NLCS. The Dodgers got to Max Fried in the 1st Seager and Turner and Bellinger, all getting the 3 Dodgers running on the board. Fried then settled in and went 6.2IP and got 5K and gave the Braves a chance to get to the World Series. The offense could not pick up their ace in this one as Acuna doubled and scored the Braves' lone run. The Dodgers SP Walker Buehler was dominant in this game, going 6 and getting 6K while allowing 7H. The Pen then came in and cleaned up the final 3 frames with Kenley Jansen throwing 6 pitches for the save in the 8th.
Game 7 was on tap Saturday night for Rays and Astros, both with a chance at the World Series. The Ray's had 98% of the baseball community rooting for them. Could the Rays do it? Charlie Morton or Win Charlie Win made history as the ONLY pitcher in MLB History with 3 game 7 wins. ALCS ROOKIE MVP Randy Arozarena was stellar as well, kicking this game off with HR in the 1st with a 2 run HR. Then Mike Zunino, my man, hitting a BOMB in the 2nd to push to a 3-0 lead while Charlie is dealing. Then Mike Z struck again with a sac fly to get Ji Man Choi in for a 4-0 lead. The Astros almost game back in this one in the 8th when Rays Pitcher Peter Fairbanks denied their rally. The Ray's advance to the WS, and we saw again why they are the best team in the AL.
We are close to the Cardinals review friends, I promise. The last game in the NLCS was mixed in around football on Sunday. Ian Anderson, who started the game against Dustin May and the pen. The Braves got out to an early lead off an Ozuna hit in the first and a Swanson HR in the second. Then the Dodgers responded with a 2R single of Wil Smith in the 3rd to tie it. At this point, both teams were into their pen by the 4th. During the 4th, the Braves took a 3-2 lead on a Riley single. We then saw some unsung hero heroics happen in the 6th when Kiki Hernandez came up to pinch-hit and tie the game with a solo shot. Then in the 7th, the reigning MVP Cody Bellinger was up, and he delivered a go-ahead solo shot with an epic bat flip to give the Dodgers what they needed. Julio Urias was the nail in the coffin during the last 3 innings for the Braves as he dominated the team during those final three frames to seal the trip to the World Series for the Dodgers. Those were two great series, and for the first time since the early 2000s, the two teams with the best records will face off.
We are going to explore a few things for each team: Review in-season transactions, what we learned, what we loved, what we didn't love, the most significant need(s), and lastly, the biggest takeaways.
Let's jump over the NL with the STL Cardinals today. We talked about the Padres, A's, Marlins, and Yankee's so far; you can find all posts on the homepage.
What moves got the Cardinals through 2020?
A lot of small roster moves are what got the Cardinals to a 30-28 record. They got hit by COVID early in the season, which caused them to play 58 games. But man, did we see good ol Waino just come out and be the ace he has always been. However, no substantial or notable moves through the season, which wasn't bad as they made the playoffs.
What did we love about the 2020 Cardinals? We saw vintage seasons from Adam Wainwright(39), Yadier Molina(38). We also saw great performances from the next generation of talent for the Red Birds in Flaherty, Kim, Hudson, and Edman. We finally saw Goldy be the player the Card's have been waiting for, along with Wong, who also had an excellent offensive season. We loved all that. We loved seeing Tyler O'Neil come around with the power bat hitting 7HR. Overall it was a good season for the Cards. We loved the pitching performance of the entire staff.
Thank you guys for being with me today. I hope you are enjoying the blog today. Please stay tuned through the winter; we have more Around the Horn, Yearly Reviews, Ball Boy Talk, and of course, the Podcast. Don't forget to share with a friend and until next time Ball boys & girls.
What did we not love about the 2020 Cardinals? The biggest thing we didn't love was the team's .234 BA, and the 477K's as a team. The offense struggled their way to the 30-28 record. We didn't love how tight the division looks going forward as the Reds, Cubs, and Brewers all also made the playoffs. We didn't love how the Cubs and Brewers, and the Cards were separated by no more than two games to end the season. And lastly, we didn't love, as with every team was the exit from the playoffs in the Wild Card round.
What is more, do the 2020 Cardinals need to compete in 2021 further?
The Cards will be looking to add to the rotation after what I assume Waino's last season. They are in a decent spot with Jake Flaherty, Kwang-Hyun Kim, at the top. Still, with 4/5 teams in the division able to make the playoffs and be seen as contenders, the Card's will need more pitching. They need a replacement for Yadi; currently, we are looking at Andrew Knizner, 25 being the solution. Getting another option can never hurt. With the IF being solved essentially with Goldy, Wong, De Jong, and Edman. Finding good vet depth would help this team on rest days. Swinging to the outfield is where I see the most significant need for the Cards. Tyler O'Neil and Harrison Bader need to take substantial steps to show they are the answer and can contribute better numbers in the future.
What was the biggest takeaway from the 2020 Cardinals? The biggest takeaway from the 2020 Cardinals was just how well established this system is. The Cardinals are the NL version of the A's, but they spend a bit more money. But with this division getting more challenging, they will need to open up the checkbook a little more and get a bit more aggressive on trades.
Thanks for reading today, I am so grateful for your time reading, and I hope you enjoyed reviewing the winners as much as I have. I also want to thank my partners over at Repp Sports for RAZE Energy. Thanks to this clean and sufficient energy, I can have the intense focus to deliver content to you guys consistently. Click here to save 15% right now with the code "BALL BOY" at check out.