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THIS WEEK IN BASEBALL: Epic collapses, wild finishes and the Cardinals make the playoffs

Thursday, September 29, 2011 | 11:15 p.m. CDT

The Cardinals made the playoffs Wednesday night after the Braves completed one of the most epic collapses in baseball history, capped with a game 162 that ranks as one of the wildest in history. The American League finish was even more dramatic. Here's a look at what some voices across the internet are saying about the Cardinals-Phillies National League Divison Series matchup and the dramatic finishes in both wild card races:

John Finger of CSNPhilly.com says the Dangerous Cardinals are not without flaws. "This could have been a transitional year for the St. Louis Cardinals. Perhaps even an acrimonious one, too. It began with failed contract talks between the club and Albert Pujols and ended with one of the best comebacks in the wild-card era ..."

Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that Manuel, Phillies start second leg of a magical season. "Charlie Manuel is now the king of everything and still a man in search of a crown. Despite their only lengthy losing streak of the season, the Phillies still managed to reach a franchise record 102 victories by beating the Braves in the season finale ..."

Carpenter completed a season turnaround in his win over Houston, writes Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "The last time Chris Carpenter had won a game inside Minute Maid Park was before the Cardinals won their 2006 World Series, before he lost most of two seasons to elbow and nerve disorders and before the rivalry between the Redbirds and Houston Astros badly deteriorated ..."

Mark Bradley, columnist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, writes about the Braves' epic failure being complete after 13 innings. "They’d been portrayed, not without cause, as choking dogs. They finished September having won two of nine series and having watched, numbly if not nimbly, an 8 1/2-game lead go poof. But even a choking dog can have his day, or night, and the 2011 Braves tried to give themselves one Wednesday ..."

Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci examines the most thrilling 129 minutes in baseball history. "Never before and likely never again -- if we even dare to assume anything else can be likely ever again -- will baseball captivate and exhilarate on so many fronts in so small a window the way it did September 28, 2011 ..."

The Atlantic takes a look back at baseball's most dramatic collapses on Sept. 23, as Boston and Atlanta were on the brink of season-ending collapses. Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated explains where the 2011 Red Sox and Braves rank among them. "Wednesday night was not only one of the most thrilling nights of baseball in recent memory, it was also one of the most significant. Not one but two of the most severe regular-season collapses in the game's history were completed ..."


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