Call the St. Louis Cardinals opportunistic. They saw their chance to pounce on a limping Atlanta Braves squad and earned the NL wild-card berth. They saw a Phillies lineup vulnerable to lefties and exploited it to their advantage. Against the Milwaukee Brewers, they took advantage of a poor defense -- one that committed 12 errors in 11 postseason games -- and propelled themselves to the World Series.
They’ve gotten nearly the same amount of help from the Texas Rangers, who have committed 10 errors in their 15 postseason games. Yet the Cardinals have not been able to leverage those mistakes. Because while shortstop Elvis Andrus and second baseman Ian Kinsler have tallied four errors between them this postseason, they’ve saved more runs than they’ve cost their team. The same can be said of third baseman Adrian Beltre and right fielder Nelson Cruz.
Giving your opposition extra outs is one thing, and certainly errors are an easy way of showing that. But what standard statistics don’t show are the runs that great plays take away. In high-leverage situations, Andrus and Kinsler have seemed to come up with an amazing play to turn a difficult double play or get the runner in a bang-bang play at first. Likewise, Beltre's and Andrus’ range from right to left have prevented extra baserunners throughout the postseason. And who can forget Cruz’s throw to cut down Miguel Cabrera in the ALCS?