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NL Wild Card all tied up after Braves lose, Cardinals win

Sep 27, 2011, 11:44 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves Getty Images

The Braves led the Wild Card by 10 1/2 games on the morning of August 26, but after a 7-1 loss to the Phillies earlier this evening and the Cardinals’ 13-6 win over the Astros just moments ago, we’ll head into the final day of the season all tied up.

The Braves appeared as lifeless as the sparsely attended crowd at Turner Field tonight. Derek Lowe was touched up for five runs over four innings while the offense could only muster four hits. Their only run scored via a solo home run by Martin Prado in the bottom of the ninth inning. But that’s a minor footnote in their fourth straight loss and their 12th in their last 17 games.

Meanwhile, Roy Oswalt was solid in his playoff tuneup, allowing just three hits over six shutout innings while striking out four and walking one. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Hunter Pence all homered in win No. 101 for the Phillies, which ties a franchise record. It looked like a forgone conclusion prior to their recent eight-game losing streak, but they can still establish a new club record with a win in tomorrow’s season finale.

As for the Cardinals, it appeared as though they were in a lot of trouble after Jake Westbrook gave up five runs over just 2 1/3 innings, but they fought back to tie the game in the top of the fourth inning. The Astros took the lead back when Jimmy Paredes grounded into a double play in the bottom of the fifth, but the Cardinals pulled ahead for good thanks to a four-run top of the seventh, including a go-ahead two-run triple by Ryan Theriot. Allen Craig added a three-run blast in the top of the eighth to officially put the game out of reach. While it was a very different game early on, the Cardinals outscored the Astros 13-1 over the final six innings.

The Braves are scheduled to throw Tim Hudson tomorrow against Joe Blanton in what will likely be a bullpen game for the Phillies. Meanwhile, the Cardinals will send Chris Carpenter to the hill against Astros’ right-hander Brett Myers. If the Braves and Cardinals are still tied at the conclusion of tomorrow’s action, we’ll see a one-game playoff Thursday night in St. Louis.

  1. channingtaintum - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:48 PM

    “The Braves appeared as lifeless as the sparsely attended crowd at Turner Field tonight.”

    Pretty sad that they can’t pack a full house against the Phillies with a playoff spot on the line.

    • paperlions - Sep 28, 2011 at 8:10 AM

      Attendance (tickets sold) for the Tampa-Yankee game last night: 22, 820, which is 16,000 less than were sold for the Atlanta game….while all 38,000 probably didn’t show up for the Braves game, there most certainly were more people there than in Tampa.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:12 AM

        Point taken Paper. But Floridians are notorisouly fickle (mainly due to all the snow birds that live their during the Winter months). They don’t have a huge fan base. Tampa has always struggled to sell tickets. A large part of that is because the team has only been in existence for about 3 minutes (relatively speaking of course).

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:07 AM

      I completely agree. I will say their stadium rarely sells out (and it has been that way for years). Primarily due to the city being a melting pot of people from all over the country. The flip side of that…the Braves are a team that “travels well.” Meaning…they have fans spread out all throughout the Country. If you are a Braves fan…a ticket to a home game is far easier to pick up than an away game.

  2. hotkarlsandwich - Sep 27, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    … and it all comes down to this. It sure seems to me that the Phillies really want to match up with the Redbirds in the first round of the playoffs. Go Crazy Folks! Go Crazy! Go Cards!

    • mercyflush - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:38 AM

      as a Phils fan, I dont want to see the Cardinals. I’d prefer they dont make the playoffs. The hottest team going into the postseason is usually the most dangerous.

      ironic that the Phillies may be making it harder on themselves in the playoffs by beating the braves in this series. Although it was really the only thing to do – the Phillies themselves needed to have a strong series here to go into the playoffs with some kind of momentum, after their horrible 2 weeks before.

      What i’m hoping for now is a tie at the end of the day and a one game playoff between the Cards and Braves on Thursday.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:04 AM

        Really? You are hoping for a tie at the end of the day and one game playoff? I can only assume you mean a tie (in the form of both teams losing). Otherwise, your Phillies would be going into the playoffs with a lose and miss the very opportunity to set a franchise record for wins. Certainly you want to go in with a Win. Either way…I would appreciate a little help with another win tonight by you guys. The Cardinals face Brett Myers tonight. Despite his record…he has been one of the hottest pitchers in MLB during the month of September.
        Go ahead and finish of the sweep if you don’t mind. I would sincerely appreciate it. Go Cardinals! (and Phillies for one more game).

      • mercyflush - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:13 AM

        “Really? You are hoping for a tie at the end of the day and one game playoff? I can only assume you mean a tie (in the form of both teams losing).”

        obviously I’d prefer to have the Braves and Cards lose, that goes without saying. But a tie and a one game playoff would be awesome (for non braves and non card fans). Plus, any advantage the Phils can get over the Cards (like having to throw an extra pitcher on an extra game, and losing a days rest for the regulars), I’ll take, even though admittedly its not a huge advantage.

      • thefalcon123 - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:48 AM

        “The hottest team going into the postseason is usually the most dangerous.”
        Like in 2006, when the Cardinals lost 8 of their last 11 and won the WS.

        Or 2009, when the Yankees lost 3 of their last 4 and won the WS.

        Or 2002, when the Angels lost 5 of their last 8 and won the WS

        Or the 2000 Yankees who went 2-13 in their last 15 games and won the WS.

      • mercyflush - Sep 28, 2011 at 2:11 PM

        “Or 2009, when the Yankees lost 3 of their last 4 and won the WS.

        Or 2002, when the Angels lost 5 of their last 8 and won the WS

        Or the 2000 Yankees who went 2-13 in their last 15 games and won the WS.”

        First of all, I said “usually.”

        Secondly, yeah, great. you picked the couple times it wasnt the case ( and BTW that Yankees team in 2009 won 7 in a row before going 1-3 the last 4 (which came after they clinched everything), that’s 8-3 in their last 11, way to cherry pick stats to make your point).

        how about all the times it was a hot team entering the playoffs that won it all?? Giants in 2010, Phillies in 2008, Red Sox in 2004, White Sox in 2005. Marlins in 2003 etc etc or a hot team that at least won the pennant like the Rockies in 2007 or Yankees in 2003 etc.

        dope.

      • thefalcon123 - Sep 28, 2011 at 2:28 PM

        My point was merely that your point about the “hot” team going into the postseason is deeply stupid but pointing out cases in the last few years where this hasn’t been the case. And no team have ever been called “hot” when losing 3 of 4.
        Most teams are “hot” going into the postseason because…well…winning a bunch of games gets them there. I didn’t pick a couple, I merely stopped at 2000. Want some more?:
        The 1997 Marlins lost 7 of their last 9
        1996 Yankees were 5-6 in last 11
        1995 Braves were 5-6 in last 11 (and lost final 3 games)

        So, by my count, 6 of 16 WS series winners in the wild card era (38%) weren’t hot at all going into the post season.

        Dope.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 28, 2011 at 9:16 AM

      I don’t know if that is the case. Well…based upon all the Phillies fans I have been communicating with anyway. But they also don’t want to go into the playoffs on a losing note either. They have a great opportunity to set a franchise wins record. Let’s hope the Phillies set their franchise wins record tonight…and the Cardinals win. It would be nice to see AP go 3-4 w/ 2 ribbies so he continues his record of .300 AVG/30 HR/100 RBI. But a win is most important of course so I will take it anyway I can get it. Go Cardinals!

  3. foreverchipper10 - Sep 28, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    At least the game should be on tv so I can see the Braves play their final game of 2011.

  4. jshamrock - Sep 28, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    With the Braves playing for their playoff lives, their fans leave thousands of empty seats in the stadium. What a sad excuse for a baseball town. Chop this!

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