Back on June 27th, the St. Louis Cardinals were four games under .500, and they were fourth place in the National League Central. Milwaukee is running away with the division and the National League West is dominating the Wild Card scenario.
With the trade deadline looming, and other star players being shifted around baseball in ways that’d be a disadvantage to the Cardinals, who does St. Louis acquire?
Former Nationals pitcher Jon Lester and former Twins pitcher J.A. Happ.
Combined age between the two veteran? 75 years old! (Happ turns 39 in October).
Miles Mikolas is one of the youngest pitchers in the rotation, and he’s 33 years old.
Add in a 40-year old Adam Wainwright and a struggling bullpen and all the baseball world can do is laugh.
Well, it’s nearing the end of September, and all that can be said is: who’s laughing now?!
The ageless wonders are pulling off amazing start after amazing start, and thanks to 39-year old Yadier Molina anchoring a defense featuring five-Gold Glove winners, (including Wainwright), the Cardinals now lead the majors in defensive runs saved (according to The Fielding Bible).
Manager Mike Shildt believes that the change is scenery has helped the mentality.
“We’ve had a lot of moving parts to this club,” Shildt said. “But we haven’t lost any of that confidence at all in what we’re doing.” He added, “there’s a mentality and expectation that we’re going to get it done.”
The Cardinals have won 11 of their last 12 games. And those are games that have been against the Dodgers, Reds, Mets, Padres, and Brewers. This is a resilient team with a lot of skill and heart. Happ is 4-2 and has pitched 43 innings in nine starts since joining the Cardinals. Lester is 4-1, has pitched nearly 60 innings since arriving with St. Louis, and recorded his 200th career win on Sept. 20th. The bullpen is coming together. Wainwright and Molina have been making history all season. Nolan Arenado has had a phenomenal season and is in it for the long run.
And the people who were laughing at the Cardinals just two months ago are either kicking themselves in the foot, cheering on a team doing worse…. or hoping on the Redbird bandwagon.
Buckle up, folks.
It’s late season baseball.