The St. Louis Cardinals had plenty of doubters heading into 2012 after losing their best player and legendary manager from a team that won the World Series the previous fall.
Fast forward to another October, and St. Louis is on the verge of a return trip to the postseason.
With their magic number to clinch the NL's last playoff spot down to two, the Cardinals look to secure a postseason berth as they begin their final series Monday night at Busch Stadium against the Central champion Cincinnati Reds.
Shortly after St. Louis beat Texas in seven games to win the World Series last October, Tony La Russa retired and Albert Pujols bolted for the Los Angeles Angels in free agency.
Mike Matheny replaced La Russa while Carlos Beltran, among others, made up for the loss of Pujols to bring the Cardinals (86-73) to the brink of returning to the postseason.
St. Louis beat East-leading Washington 10-4 on Sunday and remained two games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second wild card with ...