Now only 6.5 games back from the Chicago Cubs, the St. Louis Cardinals comeback win against the San Diego is the most important win thus-far.
In the eighth inning, things looked dim. It seemed as if the St. Louis Cardinal’s “two steps forward-two steps back” trend was going to continue. But things instantly changed when one of the teams saviors, Stephen Piscotty, took the plate. Digging in for only his second at-bat of the night, due to Matt Holliday’s bloody, but somewhat innocent injury, Piscotty drilled a three-run blast to the opposite field to tie the game. After a seemingly rare scoreless inning by the Cardinal’s relief pitching, Diaz was able to walk off in the bottom of the ninth.
— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) July 22, 2016
Now why is this win the biggest of the Cardinal’s season so far? The Cardinal’s have had streaks of comebacks already this season, so what makes this one the biggest? Well, its a combination of things:
First, with the team’s win last night, the Cardinal’s made 2.5 games of progress on the Chicago Cubs. Now only 6.5 games back, the Cardinals continue to inch closer and closer to a once considered “perfect team”. Like I said in a previous article, the Cubs can’t be caught in a single game, or even a single week. It will require a higher quality of play, a stronger bullpen, and most importantly: Grit and Determination. It’s the second half of the season that counts; where you are now is where you are now, you can’t change what happened in the first half. You can only focus on now. Every game matters, and the closer the team gets, the more the team will feel the pressure to win. That makes this game so important. Winning four in a row, in the crunch-time of the season, in order to gain space on the Cubs is extremely important.
Second, today’s game highlights a streak of better than normal pitching—especially from their starters. Great performances out of Mike Leake, Carlos Martinez, and Adam Wainwright help show the Cardinal’s have repossessed their ability to always have a great pitcher out on the mound. The ability to win each and every game the team plays is of the utmost importance in the race for a division. Also recently the Cardinal’s bullpen has gone relatively unscathed. If the bullpen can continue such performances, then this will be one heck of a team.
Third, but kind of trivial, is the fact that Matt Holliday’s horrific looking injury, actually isn’t that bad. Injuries happen, and whenever they aren’t so serious, it’s a serious relief. Listed day to day with an abrasion, Holliday could be back on the field today for all we know. If the pitch would’ve been a mile an hour faster, or if Holliday would’ve setup an inch closer to the plate, who knows were we would. Maybe without one of the teams most respected veteran leaders perhaps.
Fourth, the Cardinals have been able to make up room on the Cubs without their star player, Matt Carpenter. As said before, grit is a necessary trait in a division title push. The team’s ability to overcome this loss shows grit. A team that overcomes injury together, wins together. Carpenter’s return to the team in a few weeks will only mean a more potent offense with greater depth.
The Cardinal’s have a lot more games to win, so the team can’t be complacent with wins like these. They must strive to win every game they play, and play with every ounce of energy they have. The Cubs have shown they are not invincible, and the Cardinals have shown they have the NL Central Title in their sites.