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Cardinals vs. Red Sox final score: Weirdest World Series Ever continues with game-ending pick-off

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The St. Louis Cardinals lose in a bruising, distracting fashion.

Elsa

The way the St. Louis Cardinals finished Sunday night's loss to the Boston Red Sox will overshadow the way they actually lost it, which is probably to be expected; big, national games aren't about the structural problems a team is facing like the regular season is. For Cardinals fans, though—at least once the white-hot Kolten-Wong-getting-picked-off numbness wears off—it's Mike Matheny's bullpen management that dominated Game 4.

It all makes plenty of sense if you assume that Mike Matheny's bullpen phone is stuck on a one-inning delay. If Tony La Russa were doing this, Seth Maness would have appeared the instant Lance Lynn began to falter, getting through the kind of two-hit scoreless inning for which he is justly feted. Then Randy Choate would have come in to face David Ortiz, instead of Jacoby Ellsbury. Kevin Siegrist and Jon Axford and then Trevor Rosenthal, probably, and game over.

Except—well, except that, as bad as the Cardinals' bullpen management was Sunday, this remained a winnable game until the end. You can only score two runs so many times before it stops being the bullpen's fault.