As of 8/4/2012, the St. Louis Cardinals are 8 games out of first place. As a Cardinal fan, Cardinal podcaster and Cardinal blogger, I don’t pay much attention to wild card races until mid to late Sept. As far as I’m concerned, call me crazy, but I still think we can win the division.
That being said, we have four critical series looming this month. And in my opinion, if we don’t win ALL of these series, there’s a good chance we’ll be fighting for a wild card spot again. The first critical series is this weekend against the Milwaukee Brewers at home. The following weekend, we have the Pittsburgh Pirates at home. The weekend of 8/24, we have a series against the Cincinnati Reds in Cincinnati; to be followed immediately by a series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. That is a total of twelve games. The other games in August are important but, not as important as these twelve against our division rivals. In fact, we really can’t afford to lose any series in the month of August.
To take a capsule look at these teams and how we have performed, let’s start with Milwaukee. Last time we played, we lost two out of three games against the Brewers in Milwaukee. One run decided all of those games. With Friday night’s come from behind victory, the Cardinals are now 5-5. The Brewers are currently hitting .251 as a team with a 4.28 team ERA and a fielding % of .985.
We are 4-5 against the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds swept us when we last played them in July at Cincinnati. That can’t happen this time and sweeping them would be fantastic. The Reds are currently hitting .254 as a team with a 3.38 team ERA and a fielding % of .986.
Against the Pittsburgh Pirates, we have a 5-4 record. Last time we played, we lost 2 out of 3 at home. The Pirates have a .245 team batting average, a team ERA of 3.55 and a fielding % of .983. They have been flip flopping with the Reds for first place for the past several weeks.
The Cardinals have a league leading team batting average of .276, team ERA of 3.84 and a fielding % of .983. And overall, we are a better team than any of the “pretenders” in the NL Central. To prove this, we have to take care of business and win these series in August. A sweep or two would be fantastic but, losing a series will make our path to the post season, that much more difficult. Friday night, the Cards showed the kind of baseball they’re capable of playing; let’s hope we can continue to do so in the month of August and moving forward.
Side notes: The Cardinals recalled Shane Robinson and placed Lance Berkman back on the DL. He plans on returning before the month is over. His knee is bothering him again; this time with inflammation. Let’s hope he returns sooner than later….Joe Kelly finally got run support in the Cardinals come from behind victory Friday night…And finally, Jaime Garcia will make his 2nd start at AA Springfield with a pitch count of about 60.
Thanks for reading. Go Cards!