Well that was a frustrating series.
The Padres are a long way from being a contender for the playoffs, but they are far from the worst team in the NL. As uncomfortable as it might be to admit, San Diego is a lot closer to St Louis in terms of the quality of the team on the field than either are to the elite teams in baseball.
Even considering that, St Louis should have won this series. The fan in me wants to shout the Cardinals should have swept, but being tied 4-4 in the seventh inning isn’t a guarantee they’d have pulled it out. And after watching the bullpen light this series on fire for three games, that game could only turn out the way it did.
There are less than 40 games left, and even the die-hard fan has to admit the 2017 Cardinals are not a playoff team. Sure, the 8 game winning streak gave us hope, but that hope is a distant memory. Trevor Rosenthal’s season-ending injury permanently weakens a bullpen that has spent most of the season careening from competent to ‘Oh My God Lookout!’. San Diego scored 18 runs in this series; 2/3 of those were allowed by the bullpen. I’m further and further removed from the guy who watched this team religiously every day, but is Brett Cecil really the 4th best option out of the bullpen with the game tied in the top of the ninth? Manuel Margot killed the Cardinals in this game. Righties are hitting .236 against Cecil this year, and he hadn’t worked since Sunday.
San Diego has always been a proof test, for me, about the Cardinals. When St Louis is good they slap the Padres around. When they are mediocre/bad, San Diego wins the season series. The Cardinals visit the West Coast just after Labor Day so we’ll see. All signs point to what we already know. This is a flawed team with lots of talent that isn’t going anywhere this year.
Of course, the last time San Diego won a series in St Louis was Opening Weekend 2011. Wouldn’t it be something if 2017 ended the same way the 2011 season did.