The final record for the 2015 St. Louis Cardinals will stand at 101 wins and 65 losses as the Chicago Cubs won Game 4 of the NLDS 6-4 on Tuesday night.
“It was just unfortunate,” said Mike Matheny afterwards. “This is a team that was as impressive to watch from day one as any team I’ve ever been around, and just a collection of skill and fight and character and just all the way across the board from the veteran guys leading to the young guys figuring out a way to contribute. It was a special group.”
Indeed the injuries overcome to win the division, let alone with 100 victories speaks volumes for the club. In some ways, it also makes it more difficult to accept that the season is over and done.
“That’s always hard to walk away from,” continued Matheny. “We had an opportunity maybe to get back home and do things differently, but they took advantage of the opportunities they had. The guys fought back into this game after having a good lead early, and just going back and forth, the long ball really made us pay the last two days, and this team plays well with this park.”
After being shutout in the first game, the Cubs hit 10 home runs in the series–which accounted for 15 of the 20 total runs they scored in the final three games. Seth Maness, Trevor Rosenthal, and Carlos Villanueva were the only three of the ten pitchers used who did not give up a long ball. Tyler Lyons did not appear in the series.
“No, completely different,” said Anthony Rizzo on the approach from Kevin Siegrist, off whom he plated a homer on consecutive nights. “All three sliders. First night was all fastballs. There’s no cat-and-mouse game with these teams. We know what everyone has. We know what their pitchers have. They know what we have. Luckily. He’s been tough on me my entire — every time I’ve faced him. I don’t know how I got him, but just unbelievable game overall.”
Despite battling through numerous injuries to reach 100 wins and clinch the National League Central Title, the first round exit from the postseason was still leaving some expected disappointment.
“We could have made it happen, and we came up just a little short,” said Matheny. “But to evaluate, I just asked these guys to be honest evaluators of what they did this year. And what they did was very special and how they overcame a lot of things. We haven’t been throwing that in anybody’s face all year until now and I’ll keep telling them what they did was special, and very fortunate to be a part of watching these guys compete.”
The manager was more direct when asked if losing in the NLDS leaves the team unfulfilled.
“You can judge us however you want,” Matheny stated. “We’ve got to look in the mirror. Once again, it doesn’t always matter how it’s perceived by everybody else. When you can look around the room with the people you’ve been locked arms with all year and you can nod and say, hey, you did your part, I did mine, and I’d go to battle with you any day, and that’s exactly what you’re saying in that room right now. Now, we’re paid to win and we came up short. Now, it’s going to be viewed in a lot of different ways, but the way we went about the business, the way we played the game, the way they competed, that’s what the internal goals are. Those are the things that we can control and sometimes things happen outside of our control.”
The Cardinals reached the postseason this year for the fifth consecutive season, a franchise record.
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI