Three Questions for the St. Louis Cardinals' Final Series: A Fan's Take

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The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Washington Nationals Sunday, putting a hold on the Nationals' hopes to clinch the National League East. The Cardinals won 10-4 behind the pitching of Lance Lynn. Lynn, who was briefly demoted to the bullpen in August, has won three starts in a row to run his record to 18-7. The game also featured two home runs from Carlos Beltran. The switch-hitting outfielder homered from both sides of the plate for the ninth time in his career.

As we head into the Cardinals final series of the year, at home against Cincinnati, I have three questions I'd like to see answered.

Has Yadi Done Enough? - The MVP race in the National League features two top-notch catchers. Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants is having a great year, and Ryan Braun threatens to win his second consecutive award, but the arguments for Yadier Molina keep getting stronger. Molina is still playing the defense that earned him the award last year's as baseball top defensive player at any position, and he has again reached personal career highs in several offensive categories. Molina is tied for second in the league at 6.9 in the new and trendy Wins Above Replacement stat, according to Cardinals fans would love to see their hard-working backstop rewarded for the excellence they see every day.

Is Carlos Beltran Rejuvenated? - Beltran is crucial to any postseason hopes the Cardinals have. Manager Mike Matheny has been giving Beltran some days off recently to try to help Beltran regain his stroke. Beltran hit just .200 in July and .211 in August, but he has bounced back somewhat in September. His five RBIs Sunday have him at 97 for the year, and he is in sight of the 100 RBI mark for the first time since 2008. Before today's breakout game, Beltran walked three times in the Cardinals 12-2 win Friday, perhaps a sign that he is seeing the ball better at the plate.

Can the Cards Give the Bullpen Some Rest? - As it stands the Cardinals have a two-game lead over the for the second NL wild card spot. It seems the team will fight to nearly the last game of the year for the second straight season. I was hoping the team could give the bullpen some days off, because Matheny has been riding a select few relievers pretty hard. Edward Mujica has appeared in 28 games since coming to the Cardinals in a July 31 trade, and he has rewarded the team with an ERA of just above 1.00 in his time in St. Louis. Mitchell Boggs has also pitched quite a bit this year. Boggs also pitched Sunday, his 77th appearance of the year.

A native of St. Louis, Brad Boeker has rooted for the Cardinals for over 40 years.
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