Though both are better known worldwide for their terrible beers, NL Central division rivals Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals find themselves ready to battle for a trip to the World Series.
Anchored by the perennial All-Star power bats of Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun and bolstered by free agent pitching acquisitions Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Francisco Rodriguez, the Brewers cruised to the highest regular season win total (96) in the history of the franchise and easily won the NL Central by six games. The Brew Crew had a lot more trouble with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS, but finally prevailed in dramatic fashion on a “beast mode” walk-off single by enigmatic center fielder Tony Plush (a.k.a. Nyjer Morgan) in the bottom of the 10th in last night’s deciding Game 5.
The highly annoying Cardinals took a much less traditional path to the BLCS by capitalizing on the Atlanta Braves’ largest collapse in National League history to snare the Wild Card on the last day of the season (a.k.a “THE GREATEST NIGHT IN MLB REGULAR SEASON HISTORY”). The Cards drew the 102-win Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS who essentially hand-picked St. Louis as their opponent by putting the finishing touches on the Braves collapse by sweeping their season-ending series. Clearly, the Phillies are regretting that decision now as the Cards outlasted them with a 1-0 win in last night’s deciding Game 5 behind the masterful pitching of Chris Carpenter.
After splitting their 18 regular-season games, this 1982 World Series rematch (way back when the Brewers were still in the American League) should prove to be very interesting. It might even get ugly as tensions have been high all season between the two after a few beanings, bench clearings, and Twitter barb exchanges. The aforementioned @TheRealTPlush even referred to St. Louis’ holiness Albert Pujols as “Alberta” and the Cards in general as “crying birds.” Completely apropos if you ask me.
The Cardinals took six of the last seven of their regular season meetings and were one of the hottest team on the Senior Circuit down the stretch going 23-9. Even though I think the Brewers are deeper offensively and rotation-wise, annoying manager Tony La Russa‘s bunch always seem to find a way to overcome the odds. I’m taking St. Louis in seven to set up a rematch of the 2006 World Series where the Tigers will exorcise their demons and exact their revenge on the Cardinals.