St. Louis Cardinals: Cubs take a buzz saw to my hopes
Coming into last weekend, I firmly believed the St. Louis Cardinals would walk out of Wrigley with two wins.
About a week ago, the St. Louis Cardinals were riding a stretch of great performances by the offense, defense, and pitching. They were beating the teams they needed to beat (Padres, Giants, Reds, Pirates) to stay relevant in the playoff race. Thanks to the Brewers and Rockies, the Cardinals seemed poised to overtake a playoff spot.
I was so sure of their play, I called them the best team in the NL Central at the time. I went as far to say the St. Louis Cardinals would win fifteen of their last twenty-two games to make the playoffs. To prop myself up even higher, I also said the Cardinals would take five of the seven remaining games against the Cubs to overtake the Central division. The Cubs practically had their palms wide open for the Cardinals to take the division.
The St. Louis Cardinals had one job entering this weekend. They needed to play the same kind of baseball that put in them in that spot. Do that, and you win two of three and possibly leave Wrigley with a sweep. Do that, and your playoff hopes are that much closer to a reality. Easier said than done against the Cubs, especially with the way the Cardinals have played them recently, but doable.
Then, this weekend happened.
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I can’t even begin to explain the amount of anger/frustration/disappointment I have, but here is where I will begin.
If the Cardinals were not going to win two of three or sweep, the least you could have (and should have) expected from the team was to save face a little bit and win a game.
It wouldn’t matter who it was against, but just win a game and keep the playoff hopes there.
HOWEVER, the ONE thing the St. Louis Cardinals didn’t need from this trip to Wrigley was to come out with three losses, doubling the games back of the division lead. Don’t get me wrong, these weren’t just regular losses.
The St. Louis Cardinals were outplayed in EVERY facet of the game, including managing. We know it. They know it.
The Cardinals should consider themselves lucky, since the Rockies were not able to fully capitalize on the losses of the Cardinals. However, this series loss just represents the same old attitude we have seen this season. There has been no urgency from this team since day one of the 2017 season. I’ll give you the small run in May to pull themselves out of an abysmal start, but what did they do with that? Oh, nothing, but go 7-18 right after that.
Think about it. This last week of play is the epitome of his season. The Cardinals beat who they need to in order to make their push. But when faced with a team of equal or better strength, they collapse just as quick as their rise. This entire season has been one streak followed by pathetic play. Remember that eight-game win streak earlier in early August? A 3-7 run followed that.
Related Story: A brutal weekend for the Cardinals
Just this last week and half, the Cardinals were on a 8-2 run. Oh wait, you guessed it. They are now following that with a 2-5 run, including this latest three game sweep. So, again I ask, where is the urgency from this team? They are on the cusp of a playoff spot and the best they can do is fold? Give me a break.
And if you are the mind-set of “Well, we just had bad a series,” then I’m sure you also overlooked the Cardinals were 4-9 against the Cubs entering Friday’s play too. You’d think a team, with a record like that, would find some motivation to play some inspiring baseball. Sure, I banked on the Cardinals winning five of seven against the Cubs to end the year. Why? Because THE CUBS WERE JUST SWEPT BY THE BREWERS NOT EVEN A WEEK AGO AT WRIGLEY.
The Brewers, who lost one of their better pitchers, were able to hang up runs (20) on the Cubs rotation like it was nobody’s business. Yet, the St. Louis Cardinals, whose offense was on fire, managed to get a measly SIX runs. Playoffs, right?
Look, I know the players and coaches are trying, but when you go on interviews and say “We just have to do/play better” or “We stink right now” or even say “We still have thirteen games to go,” it doesn’t change that you still have to go out there and win. I appreciate the hard effort, and I think we all do, but at some point the team must back up their words with wins.
Otherwise, forget the playoffs. How does securing a winning season sound instead?
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I know I’m not the only one feeling disappointed, but if there is anything I’ve learned as a former baseball player, it’s you have to turn the page. The St. Louis Cardinals must forget about the series that was and focus on the series starting tomorrow. Otherwise, I’ll start planning my off-season pieces instead.