Following a historic comeback versus the Nationals in the 2012 NLDS, the Cards were 1 game away from the World Series after taking a 3-1 lead over the Giants in the NLCS and riding high on confidence. 3 games later, the defeated Redbirds were headed home for a long and disappointing offseason, only to watch the Giants cruise to a World Championship. With one of the deepest pitching staffs in baseball and a powerful lineup, many experts pick the Cards to return to at least the same plateau as last season. According Mike Matheny in a B.J. Rains article recently, the Cardinals enter 2013 with a chip on their shoulder:
“I haven’t paid a whole lot of attention to what the experts are saying but its fun to listen to these guys talk,” Matheny said. “I don’t know exactly what happened this winter, but we had some guys come back with a serious edge. I guess maybe you get one game away from the World Series and you get that close, that could go in a lot of different directions, guys could still be complacent about, ‘hey we did this or that,’ but it’s like this team is more motivated then it’s ever been.
“It’s fun to watch. You take that kind of excitement and mix it with the talent that I know we have, and it could make for a fun season.”