David Freese, the hometown hero from Wildwood, MO. who attended Lafayette High School, was the sentimental favorite for the World Series MVP, especially following up his performance against the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS. While Freese certainly put up numbers worthy of the award, perhaps there were other players who deserved MVP? In no particular, but if I had to lobby for players to pick ahead of Freese, here are the arguments I would give.
Allen Craig: While Craig hit just .263 during the series (including 1 for 10 while batting second in three games at Texas) he was perhaps the biggest clutch performer of the series. Four times in this series, he provided a hit that could have stood up to be the game winning RBI and he still finished with three of them. In game one, after the Rangers had tied the game up at 2-2, it was Allen Craig’s pinch hit single off Alexi Ogando that gave the Cardinals a 3-2 win. Craig delivered the very next night, breaking a 0-0 tie in the seventh with a hit off Ogando. The Rangers rallied to score two in the ninth and win the game, but Craig made his biggest impressions in those two games, but he wasn’t done. Craig hit a solo home run off Matt Harrison in the first inning of game three. While the Cardinals scored a 16-7 win and Albert Pujols stole the spotlight, it was Craig who gets credited with the game winning RBI. Craig also came up big in game six. After Matt Holliday got hurt, it was Craig’s solo homer in the eighth inning that pulled the Cardinals to within two runs setting up later heroics by Lance Berkman and Freese. Craig delivered the big blow in the third inning of game seven hitting his second homer off Harrison giving the Cardinals a 3-2 lead and shifted the momentum. It was his third and final game winning hit.
Lance Berkman: Berkman was brought in to give support to Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday and a slimmed down Berkman gave the Cardinals perhaps the best 3-4-5 hitters in the National League. Berkman did not disappoint. He only hit one home run (first inning, game one against Philadelphia) and batted .167 in that series, but improved to hit .300 against Milwaukee. However, in the World Series, Berkman batted .423 with a .516 on-base percentage. He helped spark a middle of the order where Pujols hit .240 and Holliday just .158. Just how valuable was Berkman. He helped set the table. He scored 11 of the Cardinals 38 runs, accounting for a staggering 29%.
Yadier Molina: To give Yadi consideration you have to go back to 2006. During the regular season, he hit .216 that season, but was considered a difference maker behind the plate and that was why Molina was Tony LaRussa’s guy during the last World Series run. We know about his defense…throwing out Ian Kinsler on a stolen base attempt and two pickoffs. (Almost a third in game seven had Pujols not dropped a throw.) Not only did Molina kill any chances of the Rangers using any running game, but his bat also came through. Molina hit a respectable .333, but also led the team with nine RBIs. His bases loaded walk in the fifth inning gave the Cardinals a 4-2 lead and his RBI in the seventh extended their lead. Molina was the only Cardinal who affected the game with both his bat and defense. Sometimes MVP is more than just offensive numbers.
Chris Carpenter: The 37 year old was slowly slipping as the team’s number two pitcher behind ace Adam Wainwright, but when Waino was lost after one spring training start, it was Carpenter who was the anchor of this staff. They leaned on him all season and now needed him again in three starts. Carpenter went 2-0 allowing six earned runs in 19 innings for a 2.84 ERA. He also had 13 strikeouts. While the entire starting staff stumbled against Milwaukee, had Carpenter not turned in three quality starts, the Rangers would have carved up an overworked bullpen which struggled in every game with the exception of game seven. His leadership should not be overlooked.
There you have it, the rest of the numbers and individual stories on the other candidates. Now visit our online poll and answer this week’s question. Who really deserved to win the World Series MVP.