The Cardinal Way Returns
The Cardinal way is back. St Louis won the National League Central in 2019 for the first time in four years. Here is why the Cardinals won their division.
The 2019 National League Central Champions committed 66 errors, the fewest in baseball. Just last season, the Cardinals committed the most errors in baseball with 133 and came in third. That is a drastic improvement on defense. The rival Cubs finished third place had second most errors in 2019. Is this the difference between first and third place? Not entirely but limiting the self inflicting mistakes sure helps a team improve. Less errors leads to less base runners. Less base runners less to less runs.
Newly acquired, Paul Goldschmidt 60 RBIs in the second half is third most in baseball. He has been a difference maker the Cardinals lineup needed. Another difference maker is Kolten Wong, who is hitting .342 at the plate in the second half. This is something not many expected. Wong only hit .249 at the plate and has been inconsistent at the plate through ought his career. His strong second half is sure a spark to the Cardinals lineup. Due to their surging hitters, the Cardinals have scored the fourth most runs in the National League in the second half. The first half they scored the had scored the fourth fewest runs in the National League.
The Cardinals have the fifth lowest Earned Run Average in all of baseball in 2019. They had the twelfth lowest in 2018. The biggest reason for this is the emergence of Jack Flaherty. Flaherty has an earned run average of 2.75 Earned Run Average. Flaherty has the lowest second half Earned Run Average of any starter in baseball, minimum 40 innings pitched. He has a 0.91 Earned Run Average in his last 99.1 innings pitched. Talk about putting the team on your back.
Lights Out in the 9th
Carlos Martinez is a two time All Star, as a starter but has been in the closer role since Jordan Hick's UCL injury. Since Hicks went down in June Martinez has twenty two saves. The most in baseball in that span. Martinez is being a team player and stepping up in his bullpen role.
Cardinals manager Mike Shildt appears to be the new voice the Cardinals needed. After taking over for Mike Matheny in the middle of last season the Cardinals went 41-28 with Shildt. The improvements of the Cardinals on defense this season and at the plate in the second half are why they won the division. None of this would be possible without Mike Schildt. He deserves to win Manager of the Year in the National League.