The bad news on Wednesday night for the St. Louis Cardinals was they lost to the Chicago Cubs 3-1. The good news for the team was despite the loss, the Magic Number to clinch the National League Central dropped to “3” as the Pittsburgh Pirates also lost.
But the help from the Pirates is not exactly the charity Mike Matheny and the Cardinals are looking for right now.
“We take care of our own business and that’s really what we have to do from here moving forward,” stated Matheny afterwards. “We’ve gotta be very conscious of what we can control. I actually didn’t even know who won that game until ours was over. I’m tired of looking out there and waiting for somebody else to help us–nobody’s helped us all season long. Why are they going to start now?”
“A sweep in Arizona would be nice and not even have to worry about it,” agreed Matt Carpenter. “I know that’s the mindset of me and also you’re playing while you’re trying to get everything going and momentum headed into the postseason anyway, so we don’t want to get in by default or because Pittsburgh lost as opposed to us going out and taking care of business.”
Carpenter had a hit and walk, but was also one of 12 St. Louis batters to strike out Wednesday night.
“We just couldn’t get anything going,” said the third baseman. “That’s what it’s going to be like in the postseason as well, so we gotta find a way to scratch a few and give our pitchers–who’ve been throwing really well–a chance to win a game.”
After getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, John Lackey settled into a groove until the 4th inning when a two-out triple from pitcher Jake Arietta scored a pair of runs.
Lackey finished with a line of 6.2 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, 4 BBs, 8 Ks on 107 pitches (70 strikes).
“It definitely feels good to have a little confidence heading into that direction,” said Lackey of his last start before the postseason. “But what you’ve done in the past and what you’ve done in your last few starts is not going to help you once you get out there. You’ve got to do it again.”
The Cardinals lead remains 1.5 games, though Thursday offers a chance for Pittsburgh to gain ground as they play Atlanta and St. Louis has an off-day. The Pirates will then conclude the regular season with a three game series in Cincinnati, including the finale against Johnny Cueto, who will be seeking his 20th win of the year.
photo credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports