The Cardinals managed to return to St. Louis one game ahead in the hunt for the second National League wildcard playoff berth.
I guess an optimist would say they were lucky to do so after a 2-5 roadtrip so we should be thrilled that the Dodgers proved to be just as inept as the Birds over the last week and a half.
But that's not the way I am looking at it. Not by a longshot.
The Cardinals could have buried Los Angeles -- and prevented the Phillies and Brewers from getting back into contention -- had they simply not stunk it up. There is no excuse for a team that is supposed to be of playoff quality to lose two of three games to the second division Padres. And after they did, the Redbirds couldn't even muster the resolve to take out their misfortune on the Dodgers.
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The Birds rolled into LA and then rolled over. They could have won every game of that series but managed to find a way to lose it with a combination of bad defense, lousy bullpen work and an offense that seems completely incapable of hitting with pressure on.
If the Cardinals would have managed to win ONE game in San Diego and then managed not to blow the third game against the Dodgers -- a mediocre 4-3 roadtrip -- They'd probably have their playoff ticket locked up with a four-game lead over the Dodgers and a 6 1/2 game lead over Milwaukee.
Seriously, if the Redbirds can't do better than 2-8 down the stretch against mediocre teams. why are we supposed to believe they'll do better when they have to face playoff squads?
The Birds need to make a stand during their upcoming series against the Astros. They really need a sweep to prove them are the team they appear to be on paper. And then they need to dominate the Cubs and Astros on the road. No less than seven wins in their next 10 games will be acceptable.
Yeah, I know, all they have to do is get in the playoffs and then it might turn out like 2006 all over again. But this team hasn't shown any moxie at all this season. I am starting to have trouble believing they're going to suddenly find their bootstraps now.
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