SAN FRANCISCO -- The Cardinals don't have Lance Berkman. For Game 6 of the NLCS, they didn't have Matt Holliday.
There's a real chance they won't have Holliday for Game 7, either.
And oh yes, in case you've forgotten, the Cardinals don't have Albert Pujols, either.
So here the Cardinals are in the National League Championship Series, faced now with a Game 7 against the Giants. Here the Cardinals are, two games after they seemingly had this NLCS in control, faced with the reality that in these last two games, their lineup has managed all of one run.
You might draw a connection. What you'd get if you suggest that to the Cardinals is an argument.
"We've won all year without me, and without Pujols," Berkman said Sunday, after the Cardinals' 6-1 loss in Game 6. "I'll probably get roasted for saying this, but you take a guy like Matt out of our lineup, we're still more dangerous [than the Giants].
"No disrespect, I still like our lineup better."
Holliday, who has been batting third, was a late scratch Sunday with what the Cardinals termed as lower back stiffness. He has long had back issues, and when he tried to take batting practice before Game 6, the problems flared up.
"We'll see [Monday]," manager Mike Matheny said after the game. "Right now, his back tightened up, even a little bit more as we went through the game."
That hardly sounds encouraging, does it? Neither does that one run in the last two games.
And now the Cardinals are faced with facing Matt Cain, probably without that other Matt in the lineup -- and without those other guys, either.