Watch out for the Cardinals
As a Phillies fan, I initially thought the team’s best chance of making the postseason was a wild card berth.
Yes, there were more clubs to worry about – Padres, Reds, Cardinals, Mets – but I expected Atlanta to win the NL East. With all the reinforcements the Braves got at the trade deadline, I figured they were the clear favorite.
I still believe Atlanta will capture the division (just trying to be realistic), but to the Phils’ credit, they’re hanging in there.
Thanks to St. Louis, however, the NL wild card race is basically over, so overtaking the Braves is Philadelphia’s only real chance. The Cardinals didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, because they were always sort of hanging around.
Yet I seriously doubt many people thought they’d catch fire like this and run away with the wild card.
They remind me of the 2011 Cardinals, who upset a 102-win Phillies’ club on their way to a World Series championship. That brings back a lot of bad memories for us Phils fans, as that was the last hurrah for the Rollins-Utley-Howard-Hamels bunch. It was all downhill after that.
The 2021 Cardinals play tremendous defense, boast a nice lineup and are getting great pitching. Forty-year-old Adam Wainwright looks 25 again. Even Jon Lester and J.A. Happ, who were having horrible seasons before St. Louis picked them up, are giving the team solid innings.
I absolutely would not want to be the other wild card team that has to face the Cardinals in the one-game playoff.