The Arizona Diamondbacks were eliminated from the NL wild-card chase Friday, almost before they had any say in the matter. Down six games with six to play, it was almost an impossible task to begin with.
St. Louis eliminated Arizona with a 12-2 victory over Washington, scoring nine runs in the first two innings to take all the suspense out of it two time zones to the east. The Cardinals' magic number for clinching the second wild card is three.
The D-backs, down by eight runs by the time they took the field, were officially ousted in the last of the fifth inning, just before Aaron Hill doubled in a run and Justin Upton homered to lift Ian Kennedy to his 15th win in an 8-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Chase Field.
"When it is all said and done, the best teams are going to go to the playoffs. I have no problem saying that," manager Kirk Gibson said. "We weren't good enough to be one of those teams this year. It wasn't from a lack of effort. You can dissect it a million different ways. It didn't work out the way we wanted it to. I think we did it the right way. I wish we were the second wild card, but we're not. You have to earn it. They were better than us. They will go.
"We'll watch, we'll learn and we'll reload."
After running away with the NL West last season, the D-backs (79-78) were as many as four games over .500 only four times this season, and three of those were in the first two weeks, before Chris Young's debilitating shoulder injury and Daniel Hudson's season-ending elbow injury.
"We've had our opportunities to put ourselves in a better position," Gibson said. "The reality is: We've put ourselves in a very poor position. That's disappointing, and we'll analyze why and what we can do."
The players believe they were done in by a general lack of consistency.
"We knew we were a good team all year. We're a very talented team. We just never put it together," Upton said. "Sometimes that happens. We never put together that really strong run."
Kennedy said, "We went through some hot streaks and some cold streaks. There were times when we hit but we didn't pitch, and times when we pitched but didn't hit. We weren't in synch. But then there were some times we were hot and we could battle through those times.
"It didn't feel like we were as consistent as in the past, pitching and hitting. It is all of us to blame for that."