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The Cardinals have nothing to lose

On the brink of elimination, the Cardinals might as well at least go down fighting in the NLCS.

WASHINGTON — It might not feel like it now, but I think we'll eventually look back on the 2019 Cardinals' season as a success.

They got back into the playoffs, won the Central Division, won the division series and had some memorable individual performances over the course of the year.

But right now, it's hard to find anything positive to talk about with the 2019 St. Louis Cardinals, as they wake up Tuesday in Washington on the doorstep of getting swept out of the NLCS in dominating fashion.

Watch: Mike Shildt talks after Cardinals lose Game 3 in NLCS

The Nationals' eight to one drubbing of the Cardinals in Game 4 felt very much like the end for St. Louis.

Through three NLCS games the Cardinals have two runs, 11 hits (none from left-handed hitters) and have struck out 34 times. Their offensive futility has truly reached historic status.

But the season still isn't over. They have to drag themselves out there again for at least one more shellacking from Washington.

So as long as they still have life, it's time to go for broke. The Cardinals have nothing to lose.

Watch: Cardinals talk after losing Game 3 to Nationals

St. Louis knows first hand that it is possible to come back from a 3-0 deficit. The only team to ever pull it off, the 2004 Red Sox in the ALCS, proceeded to steam roll the Cardinals in the World Series after their historic comeback.

Cardinals Manager Mike Shildt sure isn't giving up yet.

"It's all about tomorrow. I can tell you this, and it's appropriate for the area we're at. There is no concession speech being written. This is a team that can absolutely win four games in a row and clearly we have to start tomorrow and get after it," Shildt said after Game 3. "Which we will and we have. But we're obviously clearly in a tough spot... There is precedent for it, but this team has created it's own precedent this year a lot in a lot of the things we've done over the course of this year. So take care of business tomorrow and then who knows? And this group will fight scratch and claw and we're going to find a way to win tomorrow."

Resiliency has been a major theme for this team in 2019. They tend to do their best work with their backs against the wall.

So, how should they approach the monumental hill they have to climb?

Have fun with it.

The Nationals have all the pressure on them now. They're supposed to take this easily and advance to their first World Series in franchise history.

The Cardinals should come out loose, aggressive and go for broke. Attack pitchers, get creative on the base paths and change up the lineup.

Keep Jose Martinez in there. Replace Fowler with Bader or Arozarena. Don't be afraid to make in-game substitutions. Why not? What you've been doing clearly hasn't been working. Might as well go down firing all of your bullets.

The players, while obviously dejected after their third loss in a row, said all the right things after Game 3. The body language in the dugout after last night's debacle might not have looked great, but they say they're still confident.

"We know how good we are, and once we get going we could steamroll," Kolten Wong said.

"Just win one game. Win tomorrow," Jack Flaherty said.

Jose Martinez summed it up best, though.

"The odds.. of course everyone is going to think we have no chance, but it's baseball. Anything can happen," Martinez said.

He's right. Baseball is weird. Postseason baseball is especially weird. Go down fighting, and anything can happen.

The 2004 Red Sox were loose and fun during their ALCS comeback against the Yankees. They knew history wasn't on their side, but they didn't care. They took chances, played with abandon and ended up making baseball history.

The 2019 Cardinals need to follow that blueprint if they plan on making a comeback (or scoring more than one run for that matter) in an NLCS that has had St. Louis fans wondering how their team even got this far.

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