The last two days could have gone better for the Cardinals. On Tuesday, the Cardinals wasted a great Jack Flaherty start - not that those are in short supply - and lost what was essentially a coin flip game, requiring six hours and 19 innings of baseball. Yesterday, Michael Wacha exited the game in the 2nd inning, and the bullpen faltered very predictably, because asking the bullpen - even an extended rosters one - to pitch 7.2 IP hours after they threw 11 IP is an impossible task. The Brewers also won both games they played.
So the cushy, going to win the division for sure feeling, feels less like that now. If you want to paint the situation in the least favorable light, the Cardinals are facing a division rival that wants payback and the team trailing them is in the midst of Dodgers (42 wins in 50 games in 2017) or Athletics type run (20 game winning streak in 2002). It feels like the Cardinals are definitely due to lose and the Brewers found a magic spell to win.
But they didn’t. This is still baseball. It would not surprise me at all if the Brewers lost the next four games. It really wouldn’t. Do I think the Brewers are going to make it that easy on the Cards? No, no I do not. Do I think they’ll win all four games? No, I do not think that either. If they do, hell, I find it hard to blame the Cardinals for this one. I mean sure they should have taken care of the DBacks, but at the same time, they won one, lost one, and lost the coin flip game. That’s not an outcome that makes me think the Cardinals blew it, especially given the circumstances surrounding the second loss. Wacha just had the most poorly timed injury possible and it cost the Cards. And they almost won still!
Meanwhile, the upcoming opponent may be a division rival, but they are a shell of what they were. Kris Bryant and Javier Baez are both probably not going to play at all, because as fun as it would be for them to do their part for the Cards’ destruction, they’re not sacrificing player’s injury status for it. They have a manager who seems certain to be fired, and a team that is playing like it knows that. As of this writing, they have lost two straight to the Pirates. Have you seen the Pirates in the second half?
So all the Cardinals can do is take care of business themselves. Hope for a Brewers loss, multiple ones in fact, but beat the Cubs and the Cards don’t have a problem. The Brewers have four games remaining. Tomorrow, they have a tough pitching matchup with Luis Castillo taking the mound for the Reds, and Chase Anderson for the Brewers. Over the weekend, they play at Coors Field and that’s a nightmare to play as a road team. Again, any outcome between 0-4 and 4-0 would not surprise me for the Brewers. Insane run or no, I would hate these next four games were it my team I was rooting for.
Worst case scenario, the Cardinals begin the Cards-Cubs series with a one game division lead. And if literally everything goes wrong in that series, they’re still a playoff team. The order of events is frustrating, but imagine if the Cards won 3 out of 4 against the Cubs, then won 2 out of 3 against the Diamondbacks. Same end result, but I bet the fanbase would react differently than they are currently. Some of them anyway.
So, let’s just sweep the Cubs again. Make what the Brewers do irrelevant....
But also, Reds, buddy, could you do us a solid and win today? Thanks for winning the season series against the Cubs, that sure helped a lot, but you’re losing the season series to the Brewers, and well going 9-10 against them sounds better than 8-11. And Rockies? I’m not even going to ask, I have no idea what your team is or is doing or what your plan is. You’re just a mess, but you win games at Coors Field sometimes and I hope you stick to doing that.
And if the Brewers manage to lose some games, the Cardinals should still sweep the Cubs. Because it’s the right thing to do.