Welcome to wee-hours-of-the-morning Bytes from Phoenix.

Wednesday night’s game took so long to complete, by the time it was over I was 68 years old, had white hair, a vague limp and had moved into a retirement condo adjacent to the 11th tee at a country club in Scottsdale — and I don’t even play golf.

Anyway, here are some musings, cheap shots and numbers in the wake of the Cardinals’ depressing 10-9 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

I’ll go with 16 of them … in honor of the 16-inning affair that made cacti die.

1. Stating the obvious: The Cardinals can’t lose this game. They just can’t. I know, I know. Long season. Stuff happens. No one’s perfect. No team will avoid losses like this during the course of the season. I am a reasonable person and I agree with all of that. But I don’t care if it’s Game No. 3 or Game No. 151 on the schedule; you can’t cough up leads of 4-1, 7-5, 8-7 and 9-8 and lose in 16 innings.

2. I’m guessing that approximately 97 percent of Cardinals fans will be pinning this defeat on the bullpen — especially closer pro tem Mitchell Boggs, who gave up a 9-8 lead in the bottom of the 12th. I would suggest that it would be fair to also hold the hitters accountable. Yes, they scored nine runs in the game. When you score nine runs, even in a marathon session, you should get out of Chase Field with a Dub.

However, over the final 9 innings of this little kick to the groin, the Cardinals scored one run, and they had 4 hits in 34 at-bats and struck out nine times. Arizona relievers David Hernandez, J.J. Putz, Matt Reynolds and extra-long reliever Josh Collmenter shut down the Cardinals offense and tucked the audience to bed back in St. Louis.

After Yadier Molina homered in the seventh to give the Cardinals an 8-7 lead, the boys plunged into an 0 for 16 stretch with five strikeouts. After a Molina walk, Matt Adams single and Pete Kozma RBI single gave the Cardinals a 9-8 lead in the 12th, the birds plummeted to a 2 for 15 showing (with five strikeouts) during the remainder of the contest.

Remember, the big goal in spring training was to refine the hitting approach, lock in on those fundamentals and cultivate an offense that’s less streaky and more consistent.

There is work to be done.

3. For instance, with a runner on third and one out, it’s probably not a good idea to step in and hack at three offspeed pitches to strike yourself out. (Jon Jay reference.)