Lars Nootbaar’s ridiculous catch brings Cardinals closer to playoffs

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Lars Nootbaar #68 of the St. Louis Cardinals runs to third base with a triple during the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on June 23, 2021, in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Lars Nootbaar #68 of the St. Louis Cardinals runs to third base with a triple during the third inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on June 23, 2021, in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
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Lars Nootbaar’s ridiculous catch brings the St. Louis Cardinals one step closer to the playoffs.

The St. Louis Cardinals are among the hottest teams in baseball. They are 7-3 in their last 10 games and now lead the second National League wild card spot by one game, with their playoff odds increasing to 41 percent.

On Wednesday night, outfielder Lars Nootbaar made arguably the play of the season — a play that brought the Cardinals one step closer to securing a playoff berth.

In the seventh inning, with the Mets having two runners on base with two outs and the Cardinals leading 8-4, Nootbaar robbed Pete Alonso of a three-run homer. The play, which you can watch above, would have brought the Mets within one run and made the game interesting. Instead, it sealed a Cardinals victory and essentially put a nail in the Mets’ season.

The catch also secured a series sweep for the Cardinals, who now appear to be the strong favorite to win the second NL wild card spot. Who could have seen this coming? It was only one week ago that they hit rock bottom, blowing a 5-1 lead against the Milwaukee Brewers, and having their postseason odds dwindle to a mere three percent.

Now, the Cardinals are firing on all cylinders. The offense carried them against the Mets, scoring 25 runs in three games. The pitching staff has allowed only 14 runs in their last seven games. The defense, which FanGraphs says leads the majors in defensive runs saved (DRS) entering Wednesday, was once again the difference.

It’s a recipe the Cardinals planned to follow entering the season. Of course, it took almost 140 games for them to actually follow it. But now that they are fresh off a series sweep of the Mets, they control their own destiny as they fight for a chance to face the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Francisco Giants in the wild card game.

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And it wouldn’t have been possible without Nootbaar’s catch — and it could quite possibly vault them to the postseason.

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