St. Louis Cardinals Clinch Playoff Berth

The St. Louis Cardinals may have lost their second game in a row against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, but they did get a dose of good news later in the day. The San Francisco Giants lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks and that meant the Cardinals were the first team to lock down a playoff spot this season.

Although St. Louis has larger goals in mind, manager Mike Matheny told that securing an invitation to October baseball is still very important.

"I think it's real important to acknowledge the fact that you're one of the teams that is fortunate enough to play even one more game at the end. Never, ever slight that. There are some guys in there who have never been able to celebrate anything, and we have been pushing since February for the chance to play beyond 162. We want to continue to push for this division, but not slight the accomplishment of being able to be acknowledged to be one of the 10."
The bad part of the day for the Cardinals was when the Cubs beat them 5-4. St. Louis rallied for three runs in the ninth inning, but came up just short. Cubs closer Hector Rondon got tossed for hitting Greg Garcia to lead off the ninth inning, continuing the game of beanball the two squads have been playing the last couple of days. Of course Cubs manager Joe Maddon denied any premeditation in the Garcia plunking. ESPN reported that Maddon said hitting Garcia in that situation doesn't make any sense.
"I know nobody wants to believe me. You're not going to believe me, Cardinal Nation. God bless, you're not going to want to believe me. I get it. There's no way for me to sit here and even attempt to ameliorate your concerns. None of that was intentional. It happens. It's part of the game, but again go ahead and lay it on me."
Even after the loss, the Cardinals still lead the National League Central by 4 1/2 games over the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Cubs are lurking just five games back. St. Louis will play Chicago for the last time this regular season on Sunday, while they will face the Pirates in Pittsburgh in the penultimate series of the season.

This is the fifth season in a row that the St Louis Cardinals have made the playoffs. Do you believe the Cardinals have enough to win their 12th World series title?

[Image by Mike MacGinnis/Getty Images]