It was supposed to be an exciting final homestand at Busch Stadium, where Cardinals fans had been spoiled with meaningful baseball games until the final day of the season since 2011. This season is over in St. Louis, though, regardless of the schedule.
There are three games remaining this weekend at home against the Brewers, but the Cardinals were officially put out of their misery in an embarrassing 2-1 loss in 11 innings against the Cubs’ B or C lineup Thursday night.
The gap between the two NL Central rivals is so wide these days, Cubs manager Joe Maddon proved that he could beat the Cardinals without bothering to play any of his superstars.
The Cardinals were 5-14 against the Cubs this year. Now the front office must figure out how to close a gap that has grown wider each of the last two years. At least publicly, Mike Matheny and his players had kept their slim hopes alive before the Cubs eliminated them from playoff contention.
Truth be told, it was clear that Cardinals fans knew the season was already over because many of them stayed away from the series finale. The atmosphere was so depressing at Busch Stadium on Thursday night, even Cubs fans appeared disinterested compared to their rowdy presence the previous two nights.
“We fell short of what we wanted to do,” Matheny finally conceded after the Cardinals’ streak of playing consecutive games with playoff aspirations since 2011 was stopped at 1,131.
They announced 43,094 as the official attendance, so a few thousand likely didn’t use their tickets. There were way too many empty seats at Busch Stadium for the finale between the NL Central rivals even though the Cardinals were technically still alive in the wild-card race.
Cardinals fans have been spoiled with consistent winning for two decades under Bill DeWitt Jr.’s stewardship, yet the…