, 2022-10-09 07:07:03,
ST. LOUIS — When the Phillies and Cardinals last met in the postseason, back in 2011, the end of the series felt like a fork in the road. After St. Louis won Game 5 of that NLDS—and, eventually, the World Series—it went on to enjoy years of continued success. After Philadelphia lost, it entered a confusing, frustrating decade of mediocrity, failing to make it back to the postseason at all until this year. Their playoff matchup was certainly not the catalyst for all that followed. But it did feel like a turning point.
There was a vaguely similar quality to this series. Yet this time it was the Phillies who won—capturing two games on the road to sweep the best-of-three wild card and advance to the NLDS. The corresponding loss does not represent the closing of a window for the Cardinals. (This team is simply too good for that.) But it does represent the end of an era. It means a goodbye for two franchise icons, Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina, who are both retiring and, by extension, guaranteeing that baseball will never look quite the same here again. As was the case in 2011: This series could not possibly be the cause. But it is hard for it not to feel like a turning point.
And it’s hard to imagine that it could have happened in more disappointing fashion for the Cardinals. After a sloppy, uncharacteristic meltdown in the ninth inning of Game 1, they failed to get hot enough to melt anything in the first place in Game 2. Their lineup faced an excellent…
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