ST. LOUIS — In the end, the regular season didn’t matter for the St. Louis Cardinals or New York Mets, a pair of National League powerhouses on paper who fell flat when the bright lights of October began to shine.
New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals didn’t show up in Wild Card round
The St. Louis Cardinals won the National League Central with 93 wins and boasted a pair of MVP candidates. The New York Mets won 101 games and had a payroll and roster that the majority of other MLB teams would love to have. Neither mattered in the postseason, despite both teams having home-field advantage in the best-of-three Wild Card round.
Both the Mets and Cardinals will look vastly different in 2023. St. Louis will lose Hall of Famers Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols, and Nolan Arenado will have an opt-out decision to make this offseason. Adam Wainwright could be gone as well, with a decision coming from him likely soon after discussing how he didn’t like not being used in the Wild Card round, meaning there are plenty of leadership holes in the clubhouse that will likely need to be filled under the Gateway Arch.
Speaking of holes, Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt were two of the biggest ones in the St. Louis lineup against the Philadelphia Phillies, going 1-for-15 combined. That one hit, by the way, was a bloop single by Arenado in the ninth inning of Game 1 that had an exit velocity of 71.2 mph.
A pair of MVP candidates who disappeared in the postseason? St. Louis simply couldn’t afford that against the Phillies, or some questionable late-game managing in Game 1 from first-year skipper Oliver Marmol.
Meanwhile, the Mets at least won a game against the San Diego Padres, but Sunday’s clunker of a showing in an elimination game was underwhelming at best, with New York’s offense logging just one hit as the Padres sent them packing in a 6-0 win.
The fans didn’t show up for the game, and neither did their team. The Mets, a team that had a 10.5-game lead in the NL East on June 1, couldn’t win the division or even advance to the NLDS, a thought that will likely mold the Mets into a different shape in 2023.
Will Jacob deGrom be back? What about Edwin Diaz, Brandon Nimmo, Chris Bassitt, or a number of other key pieces from this year’s squad? There are a lot of decisions to be made this offseason, and all will involve more money from Steve Cohen’s wallet.
On paper, New York and St. Louis should both be playing when Tuesday’s NLDS begins. But the games aren’t played on paper, where apparently both teams are strongest.
The St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets both had plenty of regular-season success, but both were reminded of a hard lesson this past weekend: None of that matters when the postseason begins.