The St. Louis Cardinals have their season on the line on Oct. 9. However, the Cardinals are at least hosting the do-or-die Game 5 of the NLDS against the Pittsburgh Pirates, unlike in Game 4. But given how St. Louis won Game 4 on Oct. 7 to stay alive, it doesn’t matter where it plays -- like it hasn’t mattered for the last three Octobers.
The Cardinals have played eight elimination games since 2011, including four NLDS games, one wild card game and two in the World Series. They played a Game 7 in the NLCS last year, and it was the only do-or-die battle these Cardinals have lost, after already blowing a 3-1 series lead to the San Francisco Giants. Other than that aberration, St. Louis has always risen with its back against the wall.
The latest rally came with the Pirates up 2-1 in the NLDS, riding home field advantage and the heartwarming story of the baseball season. Yet none of that got them more than one hit off of Michael Wacha and the Cardinals bullpen in Game 4. As a result, Pittsburgh now has to go on the road for Game 5, with Adam Wainwright looking to dominate like he did in Game 1.
The Pirates are now in the same position the Cardinals have been many times over, as they face long odds to stave off elimination. Since St. Louis pulled out two straight NLDS wins with Game 5 road upsets, can Pittsburgh give it some kind of karmic payback?
The Cardinals’ history of do-or-die victories suggests it won’t be easy. Here is a list of all the games St. Louis has won in this very position since 2011.