The St Louis Cardinals lost two of three games to the Milwaukee Brewers, yet their postseason chances somehow increased, per FanGraphs.
The St. Louis Cardinals were riding a hot wave, winning eight of 10 games, including two sweeps of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals. Then the National League Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers came to Busch Stadium and took two of three games against the Cardinals.
Now, the Cardinals sit 11 games behind the Brewers in the division and 3.5 games behind the San Diego Padres for the second wild card spot. Somehow, even after losing two of three to the Brewers, the Cardinals’ postseason odds have increased from 6.5 percent to 8.1, according to FanGraphs.
If you’re surprised, you’re not alone. The series against the Brewers revealed a lot of flaws in the Cardinals’ game and underscored just how far away they are from being a legitimate World Series contender, let alone a playoff team. The starting rotation, despite performing better than expected, will be better when they can move the struggling Jon Lester to the bullpen. That bullpen, which is seeing some surprise performances from T.J. McFarland, suddenly has questions in the ninth inning as Alex Reyes continues his second half struggles. And the offense has continued to underwhelm and Nolan Arenado’s ejection in the ninth inning of Game 2 all but sealed their fate before the game went into extra innings.
That said, there is a very real chance that this Cardinals team can sneak into the playoffs. They now face the Pirates in a three-game series and then the Detroit Tigers for a two-game series, with both coming at Busch Stadium. Then they play the Pirates in Pittsburgh for a four-game series before facing the Reds, who are ahead of them in the wild card standings, in Cincinnati for three games.
Simply put, the Cardinals control their own fate in the next couple weeks. They have shown an ability to pummel sub-.500 teams, though if they want to get to October, they need to get through the Brewers, who they have 11 more regular season games against. But even after a poor showing against them, the Cardinals’ playoff hopes are very much alive. They’re somehow even stronger than they were entering the Brewers series.