Real or Not? NL playoff races can’t get any tighter

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In the bottom of the fifth, the Brewers led 7-4. The Cardinals had scored one run and had the bases loaded with one out. Taylor Williams was facing Jedd Gyorko. Brewers manager Craig Counsell was sweating up a storm at the top step of the dugout. He had pinch hit for Gio Gonzalez in the top of the fifth — with the bases loaded and one out, he tried to blow open the game, but Eric Thames struck out and Lorenzo Cain lined out. The Brewers had used nine relievers in a bullpen game the night before. Bullpenning is great until you have to use everyone every game. Williams threw a 2-1 fastball, Gyorko hit a grounder down the third-base line, Mike Moustakas fielded it, stumbled for a split second, tapped third base and threw out Gyorko for the inning-ending double play. Gyorko isn’t exactly Vince Coleman going down the line.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

In the bottom of the seventh, the score still 7-4, the Cardinals put runners at second and third with one out (a Matt Carpenter strikeout — more on that in a second). Corey Knebel fanned Paul DeJong on three pitches. Marcell Ozuna walked to load the bases. That brought up Gyorko again and he flied out to right field. Rough night for Gyorko, who also struck out in the first with two runners on.6

Anyway, the Carpenter strikeout came on a 2-2 curveball. Umpire Will Little made a bad call — it was up high and just off the plate. Carpenter had every right to question the call. Little let Carpenter have his say. Carpenter walked away. Then Carpenter turned back around and barked something else. He was ejected and then manager Mike Shildt was ejected. I didn’t like the ejection given the bad strike call and the importance of the game, but Little did give Carpenter a bit of a long leash and then he took it too far. You can’t argue balls and strikes.

As livid as Cardinals fans were, that didn’t decide the game. For the second game in a row, their playoff spot on the line, they played a terrible game. Gyorko didn’t drive in any of those eight runners on base. They made three errors. Austin Gomber gave up two home runs in the first inning. The bullpen imploded.

The Cubs and Brewers are in pretty good shape — both have 99 percent odds of making the postseason — but you obviously want to avoid that wild-card game. The Brewers finish up at home against the Tigers; that’s good. The Cubs finish up at home against the Cardinals.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

The Cardinals now need some help. The Rockies still have two more games against the Phillies, and that still feels like a four-game sweep in the making. The Cubs’ offense continues to struggle in September, hitting a lackluster .230/.293/.355. Kris Bryant also left Tuesday’s game with a bruised wrist after getting hit by a pitch. The Brewers get John Gant in Wednesday’s series finale and he lasted just 2⅔ innings in his previous start, walked six in the one before that and walked five two starts before that one. The Dodgers send Ross Stripling and the bullpen out against Zack Greinke on Wednesday. All the pressure is on them.