Peas and carrots. Kim Kardashian and attention. The St. Louis Cardinals and the postseason. Some things just go together.

The Cards don’t make the playoffs every year—but it sure seems like they do. The last time they didn’t was 2010.

St. Louis is poised to make its sixth consecutive late-October foray, which would move the franchise into third place on the all-time list.

The New York Yankees reached the postseason 13 straight times from 1995 to 2007, and the Atlanta Braves accomplished the feat 14 straight times from 1991 to 2005 (excluding the strike-interrupted 1994 season).

Yes, if everything were decided Sunday, the Cardinals would be on the outside looking in. The juggernaut Chicago Cubs have wrapped up the National League Central. And at 78-71, St. Louis trails both the San Francisco Giants (79-70) and New York Mets (80-69) in the wild-card scramble.

Things looked especially bleak for the Cardinals after they lost the first two games of a four-game set against San Francisco on Thursday and Friday.

But they rallied back, notching a 3-2, come-from-behind win Saturday and blanking the Giants 3-0 Sunday at AT&T Park behind young right-hander Alex Reyes.

With the wild-card race all but knotted, the Cards can look ahead to a relatively easy slate.

They get three games in Denver against the sub-.500 Colorado Rockies (though Coors Field is an adventure) and then three games at Wrigley Field against a Cubs team that won’t be firing on all cylinders with the division in hand.

After that, they go home for four against the woeful Cincinnati Reds and three with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have also dipped below .500.

The Mets’ schedule is even softer, with 10 of their final 13 games coming against the Braves and Philadelphia Phillies.

The Giants, meanwhile, clash six more times with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lead the NL West and will be intent on burying their longtime rivals.

It’s an even year, so you can’t count San Francisco out despite its dreadful second-half record. The Mets are vulnerable after adding Jacob deGrom to their list of done-for-the-season pitchers, as Bleacher Report’s Zachary D. Rymer pointed out.

The point is, St. Louis has a realistic chance of snagging one of the NL’s two wild-card berths. FanGraphs puts it at 43.5 percent compared to 89.6 percent for the Mets and 66.4 percent for the Giants. Given the Cards’ history of excellence, that seems a touch pessimistic.

After that, who knows?

The Cardinals offense ranks third in the NL in runs scored and OPS. Bust-out rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz is back from a thumb injury and joins reliable contributors such as third baseman Matt Carpenter and catcher Yadier Molina. 

In the starting rotation, veterans Adam Wainwright and Mike Leake own plus-4.00 ERAs, but Reyes and the 24-year-old Carlos Martinez offer hope for both the present and future.

This team isn’t perfect. And if it does punch a playoff ticket, it’ll likely face either the Giants and Madison Bumgarner or the Mets and Noah Syndergaard in the one-and-done Wild Card Game. If St. Louis survives, the Cubs would be waiting.

For now, however, the Cards can call on their deep reserve of postseason-push experience. They can exploit the schedule. They can keep their foot pressed firmly on the gas, the Cardinal way.

“This is playoff baseball already for us,” said second baseman Kolten Wong after Saturday’s victory, per’s Mark Saxon. “We’re playing every single game like it’s our last.”

Not everyone’s a believer. On Saturday, KSDK’s Dan Buffa didn’t mince his words: “‘Deserve has got nothing to do with it,’ some say. Well, I disagree. The 2016 St. Louis Cardinals don’t deserve to be in the playoffs.”

Yet here they are, standing on the edge of a half-dozen straight postseason appearances. A quiet dynasty in the making. 

Biscuits and gravy. Donald Trump and hair jokes. The Cards and October. 

Some things just go together.


All statistics and standings current as of Sunday and courtesy of unless otherwise noted.

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