The St. Louis Cardinals could have done it. The Atlanta Braves were a game and a half up in the Wild Card race, idle, and the Cardinals had a cushy four-run lead over the punchless Mets. They could have pulled to within a game, made it easier on themselves, and allowed Albert Pujols one more shot at glory with the Redbirds before his free agency.
Now the Cardinals are two games back of the Braves with six games to play in six days, all against division rivals who would love to play spoiler. Meanwhile, the Braves are playing the Washington Nationals the next three games, then three against the Phillies. While the same principle applies — division rivals trying to play spoiler — the Phillies likely will be resting their starters.
Obviously, the Cardinals are not out of it, but this is very bad. Especially because they had this game. They were up four runs in the ninth inning. Against the Mets. But their bullpen, which had been a strength all year with closers Tony La Russa could switch at the whim of his fancy (which gets fancier by the year), failed them, along with the fielding of Rafael Furcal