Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 11/16/14
Here we are, folks: the End of Season Post-Mortem series. If you're new here (which about 50% of our reader base is in comparison to last year), here's a brief explanation: after a team is eliminated from playoff contention, we're going to put their season under a microscope and look at just what the hell went wrong, what went right, and so on and so forth. The goal is to post these the day after a team is eliminated. The Cardinals fought tooth and nail for their playoff berth, and they eventually won the NL Central with the best record in the National League. The difficult battles continued through the playoffs, when the Cardinals beat the Pirates in five games and the Dodgers in six to win the NL pennant. In the World Series, St Louis took a 2-1 series lead on the Red Sox before dropping three straight, finishing as the bridesmaids to the Red Sox once again. Preseason Prediction: A major injury or two do pop up, but it’s Next Man Up and the team manages to keep their heads above water for much of the season. The inevitable late-season hot streak secures one of the two wildcard spots. All infield flies are called properly in the play-in game, but with such a deep pitching staff, they still have a good chance at moving on. What Went Right: Winning the pennant is something that went right for the Cardinals, but it wasn't an easy road to October. Yadier Molina's stats fell off a bit from 2012, but he was still a top-flight NL MVP candidate. Second baseman Matt Carpenter came from out of nowhere to post a seven win season, leading the NL in hits. Matt Holliday had another typical Matt Holliday season: 20 homers, double digit walk rate, OPS approaching .900. Allen Craig and Carlos Beltran both had solid seasons offensively, but were worse than they were a year ago. Adam Wainwright had the best season of his career. Lance Lynn had another great year in the rotation. Rookies Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal contributed tremendous value to the club in the rotation and bullpen, respectively.  What Went Wrong: The team cycled through numerous closers before settling on Rosenthal after Jason Motte blew his elbow out, Mitchell Boggs stunk, was demoted, and later sold to the Rockies, and Edward Mujica became incredibly hittable in September. Chris Carpenter didn't throw a pitch in the majors. Jaime Garcia made just nine starts and had shoulder surgery. In 116 2/3 innings, Jake Westbrook walked more hitters than he struck out. The left side of the infield was a black hole of production with David Freese and Pete Kozma getting most of the playing time at third and short. Kozma was forced into action when Rafael Furcal had Tommy John surgery before the season started. Ty Wigginton did nothing to help shore up the bench, and was released in July. Most Surprising Player: Carpenter wasn't just the most surprising player on the Cardinals, he was one of the biggest breakout stars in the entire league. The 27-year old was an unheralded prospect who looked like a solid utility guy last season. This year, Carpenter was one of the best players in the league and was the catalyst for the Cardinals lineup at the top of their order. A second baseman who plays average defense, gets on base at a near-.400 clip, and hits 55 doubles is an extremely valuable commodity, and the Cardinals once again found another diamond in the rough. Most Disappointing Player: What the hell happened with David Freese? The 2011 Postseason hero saw his homers drop from 20 in 2012 to nine in 2013, his batting average and OBP drop by 30 points, and his defense fall off a cliff. Freese will turn 31 in April, and is actually a non-tender candidate for the Cardinals this winter. Imagine going from a Postseason icon to unemployed in the span of two seasons. It could very well happen here. The Future: It's remarkable how on-point Jaymes' prediction from March was. Injuries smashed the rotation, and guys like Miller, Lynn, and Joe Kelly all stepped into starting roles and shined. St Louis' major free agent is Beltran, who the team will likely bid farewell to in favor of top prospect Oscar Tavares. Aside from that, the team should look to upgrade at shortstop and perhaps at third base and center field, but the majority of the names you saw this October will be starring for the Cardinals next year too. [follow]
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Wizards apologize for odd Black History Month tribute

Report: McCoy may want more money from Bills

Andre Johnson laughed upon hearing he wouldn't start

Brad Stevens: LeBron 'looks like the MVP to me'

Le'Veon Bell tees off on Mel Kiper Jr. over Twitter

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Eagles ship LeSean McCoy to Bills for Kiko Alonso

Murray would reportedly give Cowboys hometown discount

Report: Giants ‘considering a run’ at Ndamukong Suh

Darnell Dockett reportedly visiting 49ers on Tuesday

David West on Brian Shaw being fired: ‘That’s bulls–t'

Hamels trade talk motivating Red Sox pitching staff

Columbus Zoo names newborn penguin after Ezekiel Elliott

Matt Barnes blasts NBA over James Harden suspension

Joe Rogan: Ronda Rousey could beat half the men

Bills tell C.J. Spiller he won't be re-signed

Ohio State self-reported funny NCAA violation

Lupul, Phaneuf, Cuthbert threaten lawsuit against TSN

Report: Adrian Peterson has trade list of five preferred teams

Murphy disagrees with Billy Bean’s homosexual 'lifestyle'

Trent Cole has ‘no respect’ for Eagles after release from team

Ronda Rousey lands free ticket to Pacquiao-Mayweather bout

Report: Celtics to pursue Love, Monroe and Gasol this summer

Trying to solve the Alex Guerrero problem

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Stevens: LeBron looks like the MVP

Spiller: EJ Manuel learned not to be 'buddy buddy' with everyone

Ten most underrated NFL free agents

Five potential landing spots for Andre Johnson

Texas-Baylor fight leads to 7 ejections

Mark Cuban will be Prez in 'Sharknado 3'

Report: Redskins interested in Suh

Report: Revis likely to hit free agency

Steve Spurrier joins Twitter

MJ makes Forbes billionaire list

Nick Young fires back at Robert Flores

Sad LeBron literally looks in mirror after loss to Rockets

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.