Sunday, June 16, 2013

Lyons, Cardinals look to set new franchise record on Father's Day

When the league-leading St. Louis Cardinals hit the diamond on Sunday afternoon in Florida against the Miami Marlins, not only will they be looking to win the three game series in the rubber match, but they will also be looking to set a brand new franchise record.

That record is for the consecutive strand of series' that the team has gone without losing a single one. Dating back to April 26th through April 28th, when the Cardinals lost two games in a three-game series to the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis hasn't lost in it's last 14 series -- with 11 wins and then three split-decisions with two of them in two-game series and one of them being in four games.

For a group of hard-working individuals of players and coaches -- all the way up to the front office management -- this would be an amazingly huge accomplishment as it would be a new record for such a rich and storied franchise such as the most-winningest team in National League history, along with the second-most winningest in all of America's past time.

What makes this even more of a feel-good story though -- besides the fact that it would stand in the Cardinals' record books -- is the fact that it is part of the teams motto as winning every series (and not every game) was what former Cardinal manager and soon-to-be hall of famer, Tony La Russa, tried emphasizing so much to his past ball clubs, two of which that won World Series titles.

Although it is most certainly still to early to really talk about 'World Series' conversation, are these starting to become shadows of the 2011 team? Remember the team that fought for a hard nine and never, ever gave up? The team that was down to their last strike too many times to count before Lance Berkman and hometown hero David Freese came through in the clutch with hits that were heard about all around the world?

That same group of Cardinals won its last 10 regular-season series that season just to sneak into the playoffs before stunning three teams (Phillies, Brewers, Rangers) that were huge favorites as they went on to win the World Series in seven hard-fought games.

This run started at home inside 'Baseball Heaven' on the confines of Busch Stadium on April 30th after the Cardinals defeated the Cincinnati Reds 2 to 1 after falling in the series opener the night before. Since then though, a lot of things have changed.

Two relievers that were in massive roles, both Mitchell Boggs and Marc Rzepcynski, have been sent down to the minors since blowing saves in the Pittsburgh series when St. Louis last lost a series --  and Edward Mujica has his spot justified in the bullpen for this season as he has extended his streak of consecutive saves to 19 games in a row. The Cardinals have gotten 17 wins from rookie pitchers, with 12 of them coming from rookie starters.

One thing that has stayed the same though, Adam Wainwright. Waino is still the ace of the pitching staff that is currently the youngest in all of baseball and following his start on Thursday in New York when he tossed seven scoreless, he was the first and is the only pitcher in baseball with 10 wins at the moment.

The Cardinals will be giving the ball to rookie starter Tyler Lyons this afternoon -- and with the streak on the line, it most certainly could be a rewarding feeling for both himself as well as everybody that is involved in 'Cardinal Nation'. To say the least, the Cardinals have some business to take care of on this Father's Day.

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