Clayton Kershaw did not pitch his best game last night. He threw too many 55 foot curve balls and the pitches which were over the plate we hit hard, or just out of the reach of the Dodger defense. While his stat line did not help the Dodgers win Game 6 of the NLCS, he was not the sole reason for the Cardinals advancing to the World Series for the fourth time in the last 10 years.
The Dodgers got off to a slow start, but once they got hot they stayed hot throughout the summer and into the fall. They had the misfortune of running into the St. Louis Cardinals. These teams have been built upon good scouting, prospect development, key free agent signings, and smart trades. While the Dodgers have made all the headlines with the mega-deal they made with the Red Sox, and their $216 million payroll, the Cardinals and the Cardinal Way have become a model for how to build and run a baseball on a manageable budget.
Ultimately both approaches can be successful. The Florida Marlins won both of their World Series after accumulating the high priced talent from other teams. The Atlanta Braves were able to win 14 straight NL East Division title, and one World Series by scouting and drafting well, signing key free agents, and making smart trades. There is no correct method for buying or building a World Series champion. The 2013 NLCS was a showcase for two approaches to winning, and this year the Cardinal Way won out. No one can be sure which way will win it next year.