|This wasn't from Tuesday night, as the Cardinals backed in. (US Presswire)|
The 2011 St. Louis Cardinals didn't clinch a playoff berth until the final day of the season, which ended up paving the way for a World Series championship. The 2012 Cardinals didn't wait until Game 162. Instead, they clinched their wild-card berth after 161 games -- in backdoor fashion, due to losing and then having the Dodgers lose late Tuesday night. Still, getting in is all that counts.
Let us take a look at the Redbirds' trip to this postseason.
Have you stayed with us before? As mentioned above, the Cardinals won the World Series last year. In fact, the Cardinals boast the second-most prolific history in baseball, after the Yankees, obviously. St. Louis has 11 World Series titles, 18 National League pennants, 10 division titles and now three wild-card berths. Two of their last three trips to the postseason ended with championships.
How did you enjoy your last visit? It ended in a festive parade.
Frequent Flyers? It's a very similar roster to last season, so the Cardinals bring plenty of playoff experience. Carlos Beltran is new to this roster, but he has 22 playoff games under his belt. There are some newbies like Pete Kozma, Matt Carpenter, Joe Kelly and Edward Mujica, but most of the locker room will have a familiar feel with the playoff atmosphere.
One gigantic item of note, however, is that manager Mike Matheny is a night-and-day contrast to 2011 manager Tony La Russa in the playoff experience department. This is Matheny's first year as a manager while La Russa won six pennants and three World Series in his career.
What's on your itinerary? The Cardinals head to Atlanta for the wild-card game Friday against the Braves.
How long will you be staying with us? Considering the Cardinals enter the playoffs as the worst NL team and will square off against Kris Medlen (and a devastatingly dominant back-end of the bullpen), the odds say the Cardinals are one game and done. Then again, the odds said last year the Cardinals would lose in the first round to the 102-win, multiple-aced Phillies. Anything can happen in October, especially in just one game.