Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
On the final day of 2012, a look back at the top 12 moments of the 2012 regular season.
On Thursday tom s. got retrospective on the 2012 season, giving us a post on the things he'll recall from the 2012 St. Louis Cardinals season. D-Dee has also created her annual end-of-the-year spectacular that one and all should take the time to enjoy. 'Tis the season to look back at the year that was.
On 2012's final day, I'm going to do something similar. I'm going to give you embedded video streams of my twelve favorite moments from the 2012 regular season. I am focusing on the regular season because I feel that the top postseason moments virtually write themselves and are still fresh in our memories.
A moment can be a play or a game, which gives me some flexibility in providing you with my most memorable moments from this year's regular season. There are hundreds of memorable moments in a season and I encourage you to share yours in the comments. Doing so with links to the video would be even better.
12) Twelve in the Seventh Against the Cubs
While the Cardinals may not have won their twelfth World Series championship in 2012, they did score 12 runs in one inning against the lowly Cubs on July 22. The 12-run seventh helped to alleviate the sting of manager Mike Matheny's idiotic sacrifice bunt order in the third that resulted in a double play due to overzealous base-running. Amazingly, eight of the 12 runs were scored with two outs. On this July day, the loser Cubs were lovable even to Cardinals fans.
11) Shelby Miller Throws Six Shutout Innings in His First MLB Start
Shelby Miller experienced quite a bit of adversity during his 2012 season in Triple-A Memphis. The bumps in the road reportedly matured the young Texan and, after some adjustments, the righty finished the season strong for the Redbirds. The Cardinals called up Miller in September and he worked out of the bullpen until October 3 against the Reds. Miller started against the Reds regulars and took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Even though a no-hitter wasn't to be, Miller still turned in a terrific performance in his debut as a big-league starter: 6 IP, 0 R, 7 SO, 2 BB.
During Furcal's red-hot start to the season, he turned in a performance against Arizona on May 8 that would have made Rickey Henderson smile. Furcal rapped out three hits on the day. The most memorable of which to me was the 441-foot shot he drilled to left-center field.
Beltran got off to a great start with the Cardinals. Two weeks into the season, he was hitting for a .347 average and 1.101 OPS. Then the veteran slumped. Over the next nine games, he hit .094/.275/.125, which equaled a .400 OPS. Beltran's batting average fell to .247 and his OPS fell to .822 after play on May 1. He gave an interview in which he said he felt lost at the plate. On May 2, Beltran found his swing. He went 4 for 5 with 2 homers and 7 RBI. It was an incredibly emphatic way to break out of a slump.
8) Matt Adams Crushes A Home Run to Center Field in Houston
By now you know how much I hate the carnival-esque ballpark in Houston. It's all too gimmicky for my tastes. Nonetheless, the silly dimensions and center-field hill make a home run to that part of the park nearly impossible. Unless you're burly Cardinals rookie Matt Adams, who clubbed a ball over the wall in amazing fashion for his second career big-league homer.
7) Matt Holliday Heats Up vs. the Royals
After an 0 for 4 against the Royals in the series opener on June 15, Holliday's OPS dropped to .793. After this valley, Holliday turned things around and started a mind-boggling hot streak. On June 16, Holliday went 4 for 5 with a homer, two doubles and five RBI. On June 17, Holliday went 2 for 3 and drove in one. Over the 45 games beginning on June 16, Holliday hit .402/.475/.704/1.179 with 11 homers, 18 doubles, and 41 RBI.
6) Daniel Descalso Triples Home Yadier Molina
This play is a lot of fun. The slow-moving Molina starts the play on first base and Descalso lines a shot to the left-center field gap. Molina is off on contact, rounds second, and looks over his right shoulder (instead of at his third base coach) to see where the ball is. At this point, seemingly everyone is wondering--and I include Molina in this group--whether the slow-footed catcher will try to score. He does and a bad throw from the Reds allows him to do so. Watching Molina chug around the bases and the reactions to him scoring (especially Molina's) bring a smile to my face. I love this play.
5) Jon Jay's Bobbling Catch vs. Houston
We return to the monstrosity formerly known as Enron for No. 5 on this list. It features the Chief Justice. Jon Jay had a break out season as the Cardinals center fielder, especially with the glove. While this catch may involve more luck than skill when compared to his other fine plays, its circus nature makes it incredibly memorable and a lot of fun to watch.
4) David Freese & Yadier Molina Reach 20-HR Benchmark vs. Houston
One of the hallmarks of the 2012 Cardinals club was how balanced their lineup was. Up and down the order, the Cardinals hitters hit for average and power. Five Cardinals hitters socked 20 or more homers during the 2012 season. On September 19, David Freese and Yadier Molina each hit their 20th dinger on the season, giving the Redbirds five players with 20 or more homers on the season.
3) The Return of Chris Carpenter
Carpenter underwent surgery to alleviate the symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome. The procedure involved removing a rib and cutting muscle in the neck area. It was supposed to end Carpenter's season. However, Chris Carpenter didn't see things that way. Amazingly, he took the ball against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on September 21 and threw five innings. While he may not have been particularly sharp, the fact that he returned to pitch at all in 2012 will be a feat that lives on in Cardinals lore long after Carp retires.
2) Adam Wainwright's Shutout vs. San Diego
Coming back from Tommy John surgery, Wainwright's 2012 season had its ups and downs. After a rough May 7 start against the Giants in which Wainwright walked four and surrendered five hits in 5 2/3 innings pitched, the ace's ERA sat at 5.77. In his next start, Wainwright looked like the Cy Young candidate of yore: 9 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 9 SO. The shutout dropped Wainwright's ERA almost a full point to 4.78. Wainwright getting emotional after the game made the moment all the more memorable.
1) Yadier Molina Throwing Out Dee Gordon
Gordon is a base-stealing dynamo with breathtaking speed. Molina is the game's best defensive catcher with a cannon for an arm. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly pitted Gordon vs. Molina on September 13 by ordering a steal attempt during the seventh inning of a game the Cardinals led 2-1 with the race for the second Wild Card race at its peak. Words cannot do the beauty of this play justice.