4. The St. Louis Cardinals will miss Yadier Molina and will not get past the NLDS.
It’s been next man up the entire year for the St. Louis Cardinals. They’ve been a man down for much of the season, but the loss of Molina could be the final blow that sinks baseball’s only 100-win team. Without Yadi, the Cardinals faded down the stretch, going 15-16 in September and October. Molina is no offensive juggernaut by any stretch of the imagination, but he is the heart and soul of the Cardinals franchise. Without him on the field, St. Louis has a different energy. He is the rock that the team relies upon when the game gets tough. The pitching staff will have to get on the same page with backup catcher Tony Cruz in a hurry. The Cardinals have made a habit of winning tight ballgames this season, relying on the best run prevention in baseball and timely hitting. Without Molina, getting the pitches right could become more difficult.
Every pitch is magnified in the postseason, especially against the winner of the Pittsburgh-Chicago matchup. The Cardinals went just a combined 5-7 against the Cubs and Pirates in the month of September. St. Louis to the World Series seemed a foregone conclusion for much of the year, but the loss of their leader, Molina, will prove too much to handle in the postseason.
Which brings us to … drumroll please!