The St. Louis Cardinals were *this* close to winning a series against the Brewers. Instead, after blowing a 5-1 lead, they have hit rock bottom.
In a season that has featured many highs and lows, with more lows than highs, Sunday represents rock bottom for the St. Louis Cardinals.
In what should have been a relatively stress free win, especially after Paul Goldschmidt robbed Christian Yelich of a three-run double or triple, the Cardinals blew a 5-1 lead. It started in the ninth, with Giovanny Gallegos loading the bases and the lead dropping to 5-2 before giving way to Alex Reyes. That’s when things went bad. Like, really bad.
After getting squeezed on the first pitch, which should have been called a strike, Vogelbach mashed a walk-off grand slam to right field off Reyes. It blew a brilliant outing from Jon Lester and while it didn’t end the Cardinals’ playoff chances, it significantly impacted them. And it leaves the Cardinals scrambling and in arguably the worst position they’ve been in before a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Cardinals have only themselves to blame and have more questions than answers entering the most critical point in the season. Most pressing, at least right now, is what they do with Reyes. He has essentially been removed from the closer position, warming up during the sixth inning of Saturday’s game, before having to take over for Gallegos in the ninth inning as he was seemingly out of gas.
Do they relegate him to that sixth inning role? Maybe. But there is no way that Reyes should be the closer and given his current performance, there is little reason to believe he can be an effective starting pitcher next year. He is too streaky and walks too many batters to be a reliable option for five or more innings every fifth day.
These are all questions that will face the Cardinals over the next six months. But they thought that they would enter a pivotal series against the Dodgers having taken two of three games against the Brewers. Instead, they blew a must win game, and head into a series to potentially save their season wondering what could have been.