MLB Insiders - Cards World Series ERA 2.05

Improbable or impossible? Pitching coach Dave Duncan's staff had a World Series earned run average of 2.05, better than two runs a game lower than their regular-season mark of 4.54.

The eight-man lineup the Cardinals used Friday night in the clinching game of the World Series was on the field together for the first time all season. And David Eckstein, Chris Duncan, Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, Ronnie Belliard, Yadier Molina and So Taguchi probably will never be on the field together again.

Winning pitcher Jeff Weaver, who was brilliant Friday night, hadn't pitched eight innings since 2005.

These are examples of how this season resulted in the Cardinals' 10th World Series championship.

By winning 11 games in October to claim the World Series title, the Cardinals, even with all the many scheduled and unscheduled days off they had in the month, won only one less game in October than they won in September, when they nearly blew the National League Central Division title. And by winning 11 of the 16 postseason games they played this month, they had two more wins than they had all of June, when they were 9-16.

They weren't wild cards, but the Cardinals are only the second team to have won all three rounds in the postseason, including the World Series, without having home-field advantage.

The Florida Marlins, who were wild cards in 2003, won the World Series that year by beating San Francisco, the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees without ever having the home-field advantage. The Cardinals beat San Diego, the New York Mets and the Tigers this year while playing the first two games of each series away from home.

REPLAY: Most Valuable Player David Eckstein, who was hitless in the first two games of the Series, had eight hits in the final three games and drove in five runs in that time. Eckstein drove in one run with an infield hit in the third and another with an infield out in the fourth Friday. He scored the final run in a 4-2 victory in Game 5 of the World Series on a two-out single in the seventh by Scott Rolen.

Jeff Weaver, a late season revelation, pitched his best game of the season, holding the Tigers to one earned run and fanning nine in eight innings.

--The Minnesota Twins, who were 85-77 in 1987, had had the previous worst regular-season mark for a world champion. With the Cardinals, 83-78 this season, winning 11 games in the postseason, they wound up with 94 wins, one more than Minnesota had for a two-tiered postseason in 1987. But, at 83 losses for the season plus postseason, the Cardinals beat the 1987 Twins by two.

--The Cardinals, pillars of inconsistency during the season, couldn't have been more consistent in the postseason. They had two losing streaks of eight games and one of seven during the regular season. Their longest losing streak of the postseason was one, achieved five times.

--RF Chris Duncan, playing his first year as an outfielder in the majors, muffed one flyball and allowed another to go over his head before being taken out after six innings.

--3B Scott Rolen had a run-scoring single, running his postseason hitting streak to 10 games. The streak started after he was benched for Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.

--C Yadier Molina hit .412 for the Series, just below Rolen's club-leading .421 figure.

BY THE NUMBERS: 10 -- Number of World Series championships won by the Cardinals. Only the Yankees (26) have won more.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think we shocked the world." -- CF Jim Edmonds

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