Leave it to THIS Cardinal team to leave the season hanging in the balance with only two games remaining. 160 down, 2 to go and still multiple scenarios where the Cardinals make the playoffs. Yet as I sit here writing this with the Braves seemingly giving the Wild Card to the Cardinals they trail 100 loss Houston 0-5 in the 3rd inning. Why, because this team has a flair for the dramatic.
Since Ryan Franklin started the blown save parade eight games into the season the Cardinals have found a way to make sure things not so sure, turn wins into losses and inspire hope only to douse out the passionate burning flames of Cardinal Nation with their underachieving play. Franklin gave way to Boggs, who gave way to Sanchez who gave way to Salas who gave way to Motte who all totaled 26 blown saves.
Still the Cardinals sit one game out of the playoffs. After losing 13 games in their opponents last at bat the Cardinals may still host a playoff game. A team that has played in 49 one run games, losing 23 games by another 21 in extra innings, losing 13 could still be playing in October. Nothing is as it seems with the 2011 Cardinals. Not winning, not losing.
Proving my point the Cardinals have now pulled to within one run…down 4-5 in the 4th inning. A team that was written off by all. If you’re one of the 3 people alive who thought the at 10.5 games out they still had a chance well then good for you…and you’re lying.
After losing nine of fourteen between August 13th and 27th, the Cardinals began would could end up as the greatest comeback in MLB history. Erasing a 10.5 game deficit to win the Wild Card by winning 19 or their next 28.
Even is this game the back and forth is almost too much to take. 0-5 became 5-5 just as quick and even quicker again became 5-6. Do the Cardinals not like momentum on their side? Our starting pitching adds to the drama in their own way by not even getting though seven innings combine through two games in Houston. Again, against a 100 loss team.
As a result Tony LaRussa must puzzle together his bullpen to find another six innings of availability. Six innings out of a bullpen that is more than taxed…mostly due to TLR’s insistence on tinkering within every game, playing the match-ups to a fault and going to the Motte well perhaps once too often.
Regardless of Tuesday’s result the Cardinals will still have a chance to force a one game playoff for the Wild Card by winning on Wednesday. Who else would start such a game but, yep…Chris Carpenter.
As I save this the Cardinals have tied it at six with two outs in the 7th…If only I were making this stuff up I could have a great career writing fiction. But fact is this is the reality of the 2011 Cardinal season.
These are just my thoughts…keep on reading and you’ll get up to speed.
Derek is on Twitter @SportsbyWeeze and also writes for the Rams at RamsHerd.com
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