Cardinals officially clinch a spot in the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season

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The Cardinals lost 5-4 to the Cubs on Saturday, but they still punched their ticket to the post-season — as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch notes — with the Giants losing 6-0 to the Diamondbacks. It will be the Cardinals’ fifth consecutive playoff appearance. Since 2000, the Cardinals have appeared in all but four of 16 post-seasons.

Though Saturday’s achievement is satisfying, the Cardinals aren’t done yet. They can vastly improve their odds of success in October by clinching the NL Central and finishing with the best record. Entering play Saturday, the Cardinals had a five game lead over the Pirates and six over the Cubs. The Cardinals have 14 games remaining. The odds are on them taking care of business, but to quote an old saying, never count your chickens before they hatch.

The Cardinals’ schedule the rest of the way includes Sunday’s series finale against the Cubs, three home games against the Reds, four home games against the Brewers, three road games against the Pirates, and three road games against the Braves.