Picture going into the ninth inning last night. You're a game and a half out of the playoffs. The team ahead of you is off, so you know a win will gain you ground. You're at home. You're also up four runs against a team that, well, has been just a few cuts above awful. Sorry, Mets fans. Jason Motte comes in, who is probably having his best season ever.* You offer that to any Cardinal fan, I don't think you would find a single one who would wait three seconds before saying I'll take it.
*I haven't even started to look at his numbers, but that's just the way it feels to me.
That, of course, is when the fun started. It wouldn't make for much of a blog post (or definitely a different Tommy Herr picture) if the Cards just went out and put 'em down 1-2-3. Though that easily could have been the case. I know my Uncle Charlie, who does not miss a Cardinal game if he can at all help it, was pretty down on Raffy Furcal when he came to the red birds. I can only imagine what he thinks of him after botching this one to lead off the 9th.*
*I really wanted to embed the video, but MLB is not known for quickly embracing technology, so we're probably at least five years off of that happening.
Yikes. Turn that double play, and that inning takes a whole new flavor. I think the next batter flew out. It was soon after, anyway. With only six to play, the difference between one or two games back is pretty huge. The only good news is the Cardinals get to start again with the still-mediocre* Cubs, whereas the Braves tangle with a surprisingly spry Nationals team that has won eight of it's last ten.
*Sadly, it's still an improvement from earlier in the year.
As far as the AL, the Rays and Red Sox have screwed around enough to let the Angels into the race now. I do like Joe Maddon and the Rays an awful lot, but if there's a chance that the wild card won't come out of the AL East, I'm all over it. The Rays and Angels were tied at two games back yesterday before the Angels stubbed their toe against the Jays. Three games is a lot to make up in so few games, but I'll be rooting for them until that X goes up by their name in the standings.