8. 2006 Cardinals
The Cardinals' run to the World Series in 2006 was much different from their charge this season. Whereas this season the Cardinals caught fire down the stretch, in 2006 they completely fell apart and barely managed to squeak into the playoffs.
Following a 100-win season in 2005, the Cardinals team had World Series aspirations. But the Cards floundered through much of the season and even more so in the season's final weeks. They went 12-17 in September and just held off the Astros to win the AL Central on the final day of the regular season. Their 83-78 mark was good for 13th best in baseball, worse than five teams that failed to make the playoffs.
Despite finishing 9th in the NL with a 4.54 ERA, the Cardinals staff dramatically turned it around in the playoffs. After beating the Padres in the NLDS, they shocked a Mets team that had won 97 games by shutting them out twice and winning the clincher 3-1. And it wasn’t just all Chris Carpenter and Jeff Weaver, either.
In Game 1 of the World Series, the Cards started rookie Anthony Reyes, who had posted a 5-8 record with a 5.06 ERA during the regular season. He was one of the most unlikely pitchers to ever start in a World Series opener. But Reyes answered the call and pitched eight innings allowing just two earned runs in a 7-2 win over Detroit. The Cardinals staff finished the playoffs with a 2.68 ERA, including 2.05 in the World Series against a Tigers team that had averaged 5.07 runs per game during the regular season. St. Louis won their NL-record 10th World Series in just five games.