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Cards' cuts cost them in Chicago

Friday's game is one to remember as an "if only they wouldn't have..." moment when it becomes apparent that the Cardinals are going to miss the playoffs later in the year.

Because of the management's refusal to sign any starting pitching, the club had to start a rookie pitcher making his major league debut in place of ace Chris Carpenter against Cubs top hurler Carlos Zambrano.

Because of its refusal to re-sign one of its most popular (and most affordable) players, Redbird rooters had to watch Aaron Miles draw a walk in a one-run game and eventually tie it.

And because of its refusal to sign or trade for one of the several closers available or to re-ink Russ Springer -- who offered to stay in St. Louis for less money -- we got to watch Class AAA pitcher Mitchell Boggs and recent call up Chris Perez blow the game in the late innings.

On paper, the Cardinals shouldn't have had a chance. But, with just a little help, they could have salted away the second game of a four-game set and solidified their hold on first place in the division.

Instead, the players and the fans are left to ask "what if?" 

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