“You know what was the best and the most painful lesson that I learned in my career? The postseason is a real crapshoot. The reality is what makes the postseason so exciting is that in a short series, a hot pitcher, hot player, can be the difference. And that’s why it’s no disgrace to the Phillies that they got beat that year. It happens in the postseason all the time.”
Tony LaRussa to Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic
Game 5 of the 2011 Cardinals-Phillies NLDS is not something baseball fans have forgotten in the nine years since that fateful game. It is hard describe the significance of that game. So much context led up to it — the Cardinals chasing down the Braves from 10.5 games out, the Phillies defeating the Braves on the final game of the season allowing the Cardinals to clinch the Wild Card outright, the Phillies being an absolute juggernaut for several years. Then you get to the game itself — the elimination stakes, old friends and relative team aces Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter on short rest facing off, the Cardinals striking with a run immediately with no scoring at any point following, Ryan Howard injuring his Achilles’ on the final play. Finally the aftermath — the Cardinals went on to win the World Series followed by four straight playoff appearances and two more in 2019 and 2020 while Phillies haven’t been to the postseason since, Ryan Howard was never the same, most the aging core were traded away or retired and the team has been in a rebuilding effort.
A more compelling baseball script would be hard to come by.
This remains the most devastating loss I've ever seen. https://t.co/G1ecZ7BTkT— Grant Brisbee (@GrantBrisbee) October 9, 2020
I don’t usually like to link to articles that require a subscription, but this one is special for Cardinals fans. If you are somehow able to get your hands on this article from The Athletic I highly recommend it.
Special H/T to fellow VEBers and former writers, I believe, santiagofish and jeff_uderscore for showing me this article!