The St. Louis Cardinals and the inevitable postseason loss

Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

You can get away with a lot more of what happened Thursday when it's the middle of June.

Tie ballgames don't feel like tie ballgames in the postseason, because it takes a lot of mistakes and missed opportunities to make the average tie ballgame. In the regular season we can make frustrated noises about them for a few minutes and then hope they get them in the next frame; in the postseason each one reads as a missed opportunity, a kind of buffoonish failure to recognize just how few opportunities each team gets before they're eliminated.

Which is to say that the Cardinals' not-entirely-unfamiliar inability to score runs for an effective starter played up a little more sinister than usual in this particular context—it wasn't just the way they'd left the game tied, it was proof that they'd eventually lose it, having failed to properly appreciate what they had.

This is why I'm glad baseball's postseason remains shorter than, say, basketball's; I can only take so much of this high-leverage stuff at a given moment.

Add to that the weird angst that comes with having a lead in the best-of-five division series, and that was not an especially pleasant Game 4. It was so unpleasant that nobody could even get worked up about how the Cardinals striking out eight times in the last three innings reflected on their character.

In Game 5 the Cardinals will run up against their other missed opportunity, when Gio Gonzalez probably won't walk seven batters in five innings. Anticipated angst levels: High.

I've got some midterms to grade Thursday night, which is when I'm writing this—expect me back before gametime with something more article-shaped.

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