The Los Angeles Dodgers scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning this afternoon at San Francisco’s AT&T Park to defeat the San Francisco Giants 10-6, clinching at least a Wild Card berth and in turn, eliminating the St. Louis Cardinals from postseason contention in 2018.

The Cardinals did their part earlier this afternoon, winning 2-1 over the Chicago Cubs in a game in which Miles Mikolas continued to prove himself as one of last off-season’s great finds, but in the end, the Cardinals needed four results between Saturday and Sunday to go their way to remain in contention for a Game 163 on Monday afternoon, and the second game did not go their way.

There is something semi-satisfying about not being eliminated as a direct result of one’s own loss–finishing the 2016 season with a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, despite the heartbreak, was more enjoyable than Albert Almora robbing the Cardinals of a home run to end the team’s final game of viability in 2017. But it’s still not great. There are still countless what-ifs about this season. What if the Cardinals hadn’t stranded the bases loaded when they had three on and nobody out in back-to-back games in consecutive games which the team lost? What if the team could’ve always played like it did under Mike Shildt and the Cardinals had fired Mike Matheny earlier? What if Greg Holland had pitched like vintage Greg Holland rather than a version that apparently forgot how to throw a baseball?

But there’s also something to viability and watching meaningful baseball games. I thank my lucky stars every day I didn’t have to be a Baltimore Orioles fan this year. And when the Cardinals were tiptoeing around .500 in mid-July, I didn’t think we’d get this. I thought the Cardinals would be essentially eliminated by the end of August and literally eliminated weeks before now. And instead, 161 St. Louis Cardinals games this season mattered. Nineteen teams were eliminated before the Cardinals, many well before the Cardinals. And I’m grateful, despite the irritation of the last six days, that the Cardinals at least kept things interesting this season.

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