The Cardinals' 4-3 walk-off win over the Reds on Thursday -- a crucial victory as St. Louis works to chase San Francisco in the Wild Card standings -- was laced with controversy, as Yadier Molina's RBI double, by rule, should not have been a game-winning hit at all.
Having stuck with Brandon Moss throughout his historic September slump, Mike Matheny acknowledged on Thursday that it's time for a change. He pulled Moss out of the lineup, replacing the skidding slugger with Minor League journeyman Jose Martinez.
For all the numbers of notoriety in the increasingly data-driven sport of baseball, the one still paramount in the 162-game schedule is winning percentage. But what happens when even that supreme stat can't decide things?
The eyes of the crowd will certainly be affixed to the Mets and Giants games on the out-of-town scoreboard in right field when the Pirates and Cardinals start their final three games of the regular season on Friday night at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals may be scoreboard-watching, but no one else's results matter if they don't start tabulating victories of their own. And on Wednesday night, they fell to the Reds, 2-1, in a loss that dropped St Louis further back in a race entering its final days.
Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh downplayed the severity of the groin tightness that bumped him from Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Reds, insisting that he expects to be available for the final four games of the regular season.
After establishing a career best with his 138th start behind the plate on Tuesday, Yadier Molina continues marching toward becoming the third catcher in franchise history to log at least 1,200 innings behind the plate in a season.
After spending much of Monday in Miami, where he mourned the loss of Jose Fernandez alongside family and close friends, Aledmys Diaz returned to St. Louis ready to pay tribute to the childhood friend who died Sunday in a boating accident.
Though the Cardinals entered Tuesday one game out of playoff positioning, an afternoon session that general manager John Mozeliak held with the media took on an end-of-year feel, as many of the questions either elicited reflection on the season or thoughts about how the team will retool for 2017.
Though Matt Holliday has not given up on the possibility of returning this week, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak acknowledged it was difficult to envision a scenario in which the veteran left fielder contributes before the end of the regular season.
A 15-2 loss to the Reds not only precluded the Cardinals from moving into a tie for the second Wild Card spot on Monday night, but it foiled an opportunity to generate momentum leading into this final week of the regular season.
Back at Busch Stadium with a chance to pull even with the Giants and inch closer to a sixth straight playoff berth, the Cardinals instead elicited boos from the typically affable home fans with one of their ugliest performances of the season. They looked little like a team ready for postseason play in a 15-2 loss to the Reds to open a seven-game homestand on Monday night.
Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz traveled to Miami on Monday to attend a private service honoring Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident on Sunday. Diaz returned to St. Louis in time to be available off the bench for the series opener against the Reds.
While struggling to produce since returning from an oblique injury in early August, Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter has acknowledged, at various points, that timing issues and trust in his oblique have held him back. Perhaps, now, there is another contributing factor in play.
David Ross and Jon Lester combined to lead the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday night to set a franchise record in home wins at Wrigley Field at 57. It also was Chicago's 99th win overall, tops in the Major Leagues. St. Louis remained a half-game out of the NL Wild Card picture.
Just when the Cardinals needed a win to keep pace in the National League Wild Card race, it was Alex Reyes' turn to pitch. Stephen Piscotty smacked a solo home run and Yadier Molina drove in four runs to back Reyes and power the Cardinals to a 10-4 victory on Saturday at Wrigley Field over the Cubs and slow their drive for 100 wins.
Still without a static batting order as the season nears its end, manager Mike Matheny produced his 140th different lineup on Saturday in an effort to jumpstart a recently unreliable offense. And that alignment struck a sweet spot, as the Cardinals scored four in the first inning in a 10-4 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Friday's series-opening 5-0 loss at Wrigley Field unraveled in a first inning that saw Mike Leake throw 31 pitches and closed with the Cardinals down by four. There were mishandled plays in the field, key pitches not executed and two wild pitches. It was a sloppy start from which the Cards never recovered, despite the bullpen's scoreless performance.
They grew up just doors apart in the Cuban neighborhood of Santa Clara, where, there on Eighth Street or at the sandlot field two miles away, Aledmys Diaz and Jose Fernandez cultivated their love of baseball. The boys were childhood buddies, both taught the game by Diaz's father, Rigoberto, and uncle, Nelson, long before they defected with Major League dreams or shared a clubhouse as National League All-Stars.
Jake Arrieta struck out 10 over seven innings in the Cubs' 5-0 victory over the Cardinals on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field, dealing another blow to St. Louis' Wild-Card hopes while Chicago locked up home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs.