The St. Louis Cardinals’ comeback on Saturday night may have dismantled the San Diego Padres.
On Saturday, the San Diego Padres led for the first seven innings of the game. Yu Darvish dominated, making the St. Louis Cardinals offense look lifeless. But once he exited, they took advantage, rallying for a 3-2 win in their latest thrilling victory.
But what happened only innings earlier could have an even larger impact on the postseason race. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado were seen screaming at one another in the Padres dugout, with Machado telling Tatis “you go play baseball” and “it’s not f***ing about you” after Tatis struck out looking in the top of the fifth inning and reacting frustrated to the call by home-plate umpire Phil Cuzzi.
The situation was bad by itself. Paired with another bad loss in a frustrating season and it has a chance to derail the Padres’ season that began with World Series aspirations. And it only increases’ the Cardinals chances of advancing to the postseason, with St. Louis taking the first two games of a three game series.
Those chances are now 57.7 percent, the highest of the season, and easily the highest of the teams fighting for the second National League wild card spots. The Cincinnati Reds, who trail the Cardinals by two games, have a 22 percent chance of making the playoffs. The Padres and Philadelphia Phillies, who both trail the Cardinals by 2.5 games, have 11.9 and 43.7 percent chances of advancing to the postseason. (Note: The Phillies are only one game back in the NL East).
After this series, the Cardinals may only have to worry about the Reds and Phillies going forward. To make the playoffs, the Padres will have to leapfrog the Cardinals, Reds and Phillies with a depleted rotation, an overworked bullpen that blew yet another game on Saturday and a clubhouse that is on the verge of collapsing after Machado and Tatis’ blow up.
The Padres have been trending in the direction of a historic collapse for most of the season — and the Cardinals may have delivered the final death blow.