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It is okay to be annoyed the Cardinals did not get to finish their game - A Hunt and Peck

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That’s showbiz, baby, but it still is annoying.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday night the Cardinals and Brewers headed into the bottom of the eighth inning of a close game at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals were down 5-3 with six outs with which to work. Then the storm rolled in.

It was immediately apparent that the delay was going to be several hours. Per prolific VEB commenter ebo:

This left MLB with two choices: wait out the rain until the wee hours of the morning on a travel day or call it after seven innings. The latter was chosen.

The Cardinals naturally felt cheated out of game. The lead was only two runs and the Brewers had been far from dominant. Additionally, the Cardinals are in the middle of a fight with Chicago for the division title and the loss put them one game behind. According to some, though, the Cardinals were unlikely to win the game so it really did not matter.

I have about three major problems with this. The first one is that 7-48, while a bad record out of context, is actually a pretty good record for a team when trailing after seven innings. As a whole, MLB’s record when trailing after seven (not counting last night’s game), per Baseball Reference Play Index, is 137-1564, or a .081 winning percentage. The Cardinals were actually tied for sixth in the league in winning percentage after seven innings at .127.

per Baseball Reference Play Index

The second problem I have with Joe Sheehan’s tweet is that it completely ignores the context of the game, which was pretty important. Former VEB site manager and current Fangraphs writer Craig Edwards pointed this out:

At 16% a comeback was not extremely likely, but two runs was far from insurmountable. Cardinals fans know first hand that unlikelier things have happened.

This leads me into my third issue with Sheehan’s tweet. Part of the beauty of baseball is its design to be unpredictable. Nothing is guaranteed. There is no clock, only outs, and every team is supposed to get at least twenty-seven of them if they need it. The Cardinals did not get to use all their outs and it cost them heavily. While it is easy to say “that’s showbiz, baby”, the fact of the matter is this is not how baseball works. If it was, then the Baltimore Orioles would never play a full nine (HARHARHAR).

Do the rules need to change? I don’t know... maybe? What I do know is that the Cardinals were down late in a close game in the midst of a tight division race and were denied the chance to finish a game. Hopefully, it does not come back to haunt them, but it looks increasingly more likely that it will.

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