Adam Wainwright thought St. Louis Cardinals were World Series bound.
Adam Wainwright thought the St. Louis Cardinals were World Series bound. Can you blame him?
The Cardinals had all the ingredients for a Cinderella run. A very good offense headlined by Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, two superstars performing at a high level. An elite defense. A capable pitching staff headlined by Adam Wainwright and a suddenly healthy Jack Flaherty who would pitch in short stints out of the bullpen.
Instead, the same issues that plagued the Cardinals during the first half of the season revealed themselves in a crushing 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League wild card game.
They struggled getting the key hit, leaving 11 runners on base. They were 0 for 12 in this opportunities, with Arenado and Tyler O’Neill going a combined 0 for 6. Alex Reyes, who went from being an All-Star closer in the first half of the season to borderline un-pitchable, surrendered the game-sealing two-run homer to Chris Taylor — putting an abrupt end to a season that had so much promise after a historic 17-game winning streak.
“Whoever won this game was going to have a really great chance to have a deep run in the postseason,” Wainwright said. “That’s how we looked at it. We didn’t win. But we came in here and made them real nervous, didn’t we?”
For 8.2 innings, they sure did. The Cardinals were in prime position to pull off a historic upset. But a game that had so much promise ended with the same concerns that surrounded this team for most of the season: that they are a consistently inconsistent bunch.
Ultimately, it’s why they are on a plane headed for St. Louis instead of San Francisco. It’s the most pressing issue they’ll have to solve in the offseason.