St. Louis players walked toward their plane, heads down, ties around their necks.
Losing is not mysterious.
They did it to themselves, kicking the ball around the infield in Game 2.
Their sick pitcher afflicted swaths of the Midwest with illness in only two innings.
His hitters reached for low and away pitches that skimmed the dirt near home plate in Game 4.
When they resisted those pitches, the Cubs bullpen struggled. Struggled just enough.
The Cardinal pitchers gave up fly balls that sailed into the bleachers and beyond.
Their own hitters might have hit those fly balls, too.
Instead, they just swung and missed, over and over, for four games.
And the team faltered. Just enough.
But its scope goes far beyond a few games.
For they have hardly had a rivalry with the Cubs because the Cubs have not won.
The Cardinals have.
Of course, they will continue to succeed.
Perhaps the Cubs will, as well.
But not too much.by