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The Loop

Base running gaffe could cause Cardinals to miss postseason in excruciating fashion

September 27, 2018

For the St. Louis Cardinals to even be in the playoff hunt is a minor miracle. After starting the season 47-46, they fired manager Mike Matheny, who had been at the helm since 2012. Third-base coach Mike Shildt took over a team that looked like it was going nowhere fast, but has led them to a 40-24 record since Matheny was ousted, earning a three-year contract extension along the way. Unfortunately, the turnaround could be all for naught after Wednesday night's excruciating loss to the Milwuakee Brewers.

Down 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth at Busch Stadium, Cardinals right fielder Jose Martinez stepped to the plate with two outs and a runner on first and came out swinging at the first pitch, chopping it down the third base line. Brewers third baseman Mike Moustakas charged the ball, but with Martinez hustling, he rushed the throw and missed his first baseman badly. Adolis Garcia, who entered the game to pinch run for Matt Carpenter, had plenty of speed to score from first, but as he rounded third, something terrible happened. Check out the video:

What a wild turn of events. It's hard to tell if Garcia would have scored, but the aggressive mindset was pretty much the Cardinals only option there. The team had one run on two hits up to that point, so it's not like they could hold up the runner and be confident about their chances of getting him home. Tough way to end the inning though, and the Cards went on to go 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth to lose 2-1.

With the L.A. Dodgers' loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, a Cardinals win would have pulled them even with L.A. for the second wild card. Instead, they are one game back and allowed to the Brewers to clinch a playoff spot with their win. St. Louis is still very much in it, but with three games at Wrigley Field remaining, against a Chicago Cubs team that is only 0.5 games up on the Brewers for the division, they could be in big trouble. Wednesday night's game was one they had to have. Now, they need to take care of business against the Cubs and hope the lowly San Francisco Giants play spoiler to the Dodgers in their final three-game set at AT&T Park.