One Last Chance
By Editorial Staff
While just about everyone (including myself) has given up any remaining hope that the Cardinals might somehow still make the postseason, it’s not over till it’s over. I know it sounds cliché, and I know the Cards are currently 10.5 games out of the NL Central lead (9.5 out in the NL wild card), but what if the Brewers finally cool off in September? What if the Cardinals get red-hot and go on a tear just like Milwaukee? I’m not saying either scenario will happen or is likely, but the possibility alone is enough to keep in the back of your mind. With that said, if such a run is to be made, the time is now.
Any and all life that the Cards have left in them rests solely on the two upcoming series’ against the Brew Crew. St. Louis starts a three game set in Milwaukee tonight followed by another three game set at Busch Stadium beginning on September 5th. It’s not just your typical home/away series’ between two division foes late in the season. It’s an opportunity for the Redbirds to make up six games in nine days and gain some ground on the division-leading Brewers.
Let’s face it. Milwaukee has been the hottest team in baseball in the month of August, a month in which they have gained eight games on St. Louis in the standings and posted a MLB-best +55 run differential. They have won an astonishing 27 of their last 32 games. Just for the record that is good for a winning percentage of 84%. Milwaukee fans haven’t tasted a losing streak since July 6th. It may be hard to comprehend, but it is indeed reality.
The Brewers have made it nearly impossible for the Cards to climb back into what was a closely contested race about a month ago. So, it’s come to a point where any kind of damage that can be done will need to be done in head-to-head matchups. The Brewers aren’t losing on their own down the stretch, so the Cardinals will need to step in and chip away at this deficit while they have the control to do so. With only two series’ remaining against the Brewers, whose magic number is down to 18, it’s now or never.
To say that this is a huge series for both teams would be an understatement. The next series will be equally huge depending on the outcome of this one, but St. Louis must come away with a sweep. The Cards must be thinking six out of six against the Brewers. This would put them a mere 4.5 games back. Even five out of six is not going to cut it. By no means is this an easy feat to pull off, but St. Louis will be putting everything on the line. After all, there is nothing to lose at this point. With the Brewers just a game or two away from putting things out of reach for the Cardinals (barring an unforeseen meltdown), I expect to see some playoff-caliber baseball over the next week or so.
With a four game series against the league-leading Philadelphia Phillies looming ahead for both the Cardinals and Brewers, anything can happen. Both teams have similar September schedules, and non-contenders could also play a role in division races. You just never know.
So, as our beloved Cards step into Miller Park where the Brewers have posted baseball’s best home record of 50-16, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and focus too heavily on September call-ups and the upcoming offseason. There is still a month of baseball to be played, and if the Cards can step up here against the Brewers, things could get quite interesting before it’s all said and done.