Monday night, the St. Louis Cardinals began a three game series with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Though the Cardinals lost five consecutive games, there still may be reason to believe.
For St. Louis Cardinals fans, the last couple of days have been some of the most disappointing of the 2016 season. After losing two games to the sub-.500 Houston Astros, the Cardinals dropped all three games in their series with the Texas Rangers.
Not only did the Cardinals get swept by the Rangers, but in the final two games, they held and lost the lead after the eighth inning of each contest. One of the more unsettling parts of all this; all five of these games were at Busch Stadium.
Following this abysmal home stand, the Cardinals now face the task of confronting the Chicago Cubs, who are currently 11.5 games ahead of St. Louis for first place in the NL Central. This series may not be the end of the Cardinals’ chances, but if the Redbirds plan on having a playoff spot in October, this series could prove to be important.
When speaking on the series that began tonight, I don’t mean to say that these few games could have large implications on whether or not the Cardinals win the NL Central, because at this point, those days may be behind us. For the Cardinals to win the division, it would take a historic winning pace, combined with a drastically negative turnaround for the Cubs. With FanGraphs giving St. Louis an .8% chance to accomplish that feat, it seems heavily unlikely that the Cardinals will pull it off.
When I say that this series could prove to be important, I mean that a few wins at Wrigley Field could really help the morale of the Cardinals and the St. Louis fan base. At this point in the season, FanGraphs still gives the Cardinals a 36.8% chance to win an NL Wild Card spot. A positive series in Chicago might be the jump start that the Cardinals need to turn around their recent play.
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Now, I understand that that 36.8% isn’t a positive number, nor is the Cardinals winning a series in Chicago a likely scenario, but for the sake of player and fan morale, this might be the most pivotal series the Cardinals have played so far. Sitting at 36-33, this series could be an important factor in whether or not the Cardinals continue to be a competing threat in the NL Wild Card race.
For Cardinals’ fans, this series looks to be a slippery slope. Losing to the division rivals that hold the best record in the MLB could be a back breaking loss, but on the other side, winning this series could be an important reboot for the Cardinals in 2016. The Cardinals will need to have a sense of urgency entering this series if they want to continue fighting for a chance at October baseball.
Tonight’s win is a huge step in the right direction and is hopefully a sign of things to come.
Want to weigh-in on the Cardinals chances? Let me hear it! You can find me on Twitter or hit me up in the comment section below.