Fear and Loathing in St. Louis

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 25: The 2011 World Series logo is seen painted on the field with the Gateway Arch in the background ahead of Game 6 of the 2011 MLB World Series between the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 25, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

I'm trying not to be too pessimistic about tonight's game, but it's tough. Watching the twin choke jobs the Cards have pulled the last two games, it's hard not to think this team may very well have saved one last big missed opportunity for the end.

I would prefer to be optimistic. I really would. I would like to look at tonight's pitching matchup and feel confident in Jaime Garcia. More importantly, I would like to look at tonight's pitching matchup and think there's no way the Cards don't get to Jeff Suppan Colby Lewis, but I just can't do it.  Being shut down by Lewis in game two, combined with the lobster fest -- which sounds delicious and fun, but is actually miserably frustrating -- we saw against C.J. Wilson, has robbed me of the temporary euphoria imparted by the game three massacre.

The September charge and the October brilliance gave this deeply flawed team a chance to finally get it right. But now, with the finish line in sight, they seem to have reverted back to the midseason club that drove us all to the edge of despair. The Texas Rangers certainly have something to do with that, of course; this is a rather excellent team the Cards are trying to beat. But after game three, this series was clearly there for the taking, the Cardinals having played Texas into a hole of not insignificant size. All they had to do was shovel the dirt back in. Instead, two frustrating losses have put the Birds on the brink of elimination for yet another Wednesday.

I can get past the game four loss. As much as I think the Cards aided and abetted Derek Holland with an horrific plan of attack against him, I can also concede Holland is a marvelously talented pitcher who can be downright unhittable at times. You can usually wait him out, but you can't always actually hit him.

But game five really rankles. Wilson was just flat-out awful, and the Cardinals let him off the hook time and time again. They missed chance after chance to land a knockout blow and put the game away, allowing the Rangers to hang around until they finally broke through against the Cards' bullpen and their malfunctioning phone. (And their malfunctioning manager, but now is not the time for that discussion.) It was a pure choke job, plain and simple.

So here we are again, collective back against the wall. This team has played some of their best ball when facing down their own mortality, and they'll have to do so again if the quest for a title isn't to end tonight. They're certainly capable of brilliance, and the right pitcher could very well be on the mound tonight. As nerve-wracking as it often can be waiting for Jaime's next blowup, he's also capable of the kind of luminous, game-changing performance championship teams occasionally have to lean on.

I can't believe this team is going to win tonight. I am equally unable to believe the season is going to end tonight.

Go Cards.

The Baron's Playlist for the 26th of October -- Local Pride for Victory! (click for 8tracks or just click below to play)

 

"Whiskey Bottle" - Uncle Tupelo 

"Via Chicago" - Wilco

"Pity For the Lonely" - Luther Ingram

"(If Loving You is Wrong) I Don't Want to Be Right" - Luther Ingram

"You Never Can Tell" - Chuck Berry

"Wee Wee Hours" - Chuck Berry

"Hoosier Love" - MU330 (You kids may not know this, but there was a time when this song could be heard from one end of the city to the other, and your Grandpa Aaron really did have a girlfriend who worked at Dairy Queen and was not at all averse to fooling around in the parking lot after her shift was over. Truly, those were glory days.) 

"Curse" - MU330

"Gimme a Chantz!" - Sleepy Kitty 

"Way Out" - Sleepy Kitty

"Flamenco Sketches" - Miles Davis

"Bye Bye Blackbird" - Miles Davis

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