Cardinals Beat Nationals, Advance To The NLCS In Typical Cardinals Fashion
This was Washington’s season. This was it. After years of struggle at the bottom of the NL East, the Nationals came out as a legitimate contender with one of the best, if not the best, rotation’s in baseball. Capturing both the NL East and the best record in baseball, Washington really did seem primed to make it to the World Series. But, this being baseball, projections like that aren’t always the best way to view things.
The Nationals simply couldn’t close it out tonight. They were up by as many as six runs, and then held a 7 - 5 lead going into the top of the ninth. But a few questionable pitching decisions by Davey Johnson - throwing Edwin Jackson in to pitch the seventh on one day of rest; calling in a not-so-rested Tyler Clippard; sticking with Drew Storen - matched with a St. Louis offense that, at the end of the day, can be deceptively great, led to a 9 - 7 upset victory in favor of the Cardinals.
I’m sure much will be written about Strasgate and whether he should have factored into Washington’s playoff plans. I’m not sure how much of a difference he really would have made (remember that comment on projections?), but it never hurts to have your best pitcher out there. This is another tough loss - aren’t they all in the playoffs though? - for a fan base that might have caught a glimpse at destiny.
As for St. Louis, what can you really say? The team is en route once again to the NLCS and just continues to play good baseball in October. They’re sort of like the Yankees of the NL, without the humongous payroll and the geriatric lineup. Is this a team that, in general, the media didn’t give enough credit to in the offseason? I mean, without the second Wild Card, these guys would be sitting at home right now. On the other hand, you can’t always argue with results, especially when those results are beating the best team in baseball and rallying from a 6 - 0 deficit in a deciding game five.