It's September 20th and the Cardinals aren't dead yet? Why do I feel like this is cruelest ploy of 2011 yet?
In case you were busy watching the STL Rams get whipped on Monday Night Football, the Cardinals improbably beat the Phillies for the 3rd time in 4 days while the Braves were busy pissing away a lead in the bottom of the 9th against the hapless Marlins.
The lead in the Wild Card race has been reduced to 2.5 games. 2.0 in the loss column.
We did the math yesterday and told you just how unlikely a Wild Card win/tie would be for the Cardinals. But coming home at their high water mark for the year against the Mets and Cubs with a glowing ember of hope- by the weekend against the Cubs, that series could be a red hot fire.
Now, it's still a long shot. The Cardinals are still a prohibitive underdog in this battle considering only 9 games remain... but there is HOPE. And gosh dammit if I didn't ever want to type that. Because the thing that the Cardinals do better than any other team in baseball is crush hope. When everything looks like it's in alignment, bad stuff happens. When they head into Philly for a NL East coronation beat down, down their second best weapon... well, they dominate.
It's sitting there. That opportunity.
Like a shiny bauble in the store window. And the Cardinals are shopping, but no one knows for sure if they'll buy.
I guess at a minimum, they've made September much more interesting than I'd have ever expected. They've forced us to write about 10 articles in a row about freaking baseball. WTF, right?
We'll see. We're nervous.