Going on the empirical, as opposed to the ephemeral, we return to some slender truths: The Cardinals and Giants do tend to put the ball in play more than the Braves -- meaning they strike out less -- and they do tend to hit better with runners in scoring position. (Here, though, we note that the Cardinals, who hit an unbelievable .330 with RISP last season, returned to reality this year, hitting only .258. Still, that was far better than the Braves, who hit .236, third-worst in baseball.)
We might also mention that the Cardinals, at least over the regular season, finished last in the National League in home runs, which might suggest that they're schooled in the art of Small Ball. (It might also suggest that they're not very good at hitting home runs.) But that wouldn't explain their victory over the Dodgers, in which 13 of their 18 runs came via the homer.
As we've again been reminded, much of what happens in October defies reason. According to Las Vegas, the four favorites to win the World Series entering October were the Nationals, the Dodgers, the Tigers and the Angels. All have been eliminated; none won even two games in its best-of-five Division Series. The roundly respected stats-based Baseball Prospectus picked the wrong winner in all four matchups. I've all but given up trying to project the postseason, but if pressed I'd have guessed the Dodgers and Tigers would meet in the World Series. Nope and nope.
I'll leave you with this: Even as we wonder why the Braves can't win in October, be advised that those who cover the teams that finished with the National League's two best records are asking the same question. The
suggested that the Nats lost because they lack the Giants' postseason grit and experience; the
Los Angeles Times
averred that the Dodgers just blew it.