So do you think the games in April and May aren’t important now for the St. Louis Cardinals? Every spring those words are uttered and the emotions and anxiety is much more subdued.
Yet, here we are with just 10 games remaining and it looks like every single game on the 162-game schedule is going to hold major relevance to the St. Louis Cardinals’ chances at a sixth straight postseason appearance.
The St. Louis Cardinals open a 3-game series at Chicago today, followed by the final home stand of the season against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh– three teams with very little to play for right now. Two of those, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are playing spoilers and my gut tells me they are relishing the opportunity to knock the St. Louis Cardinals off their playoff pedestal.
Chicago, on the other hand, is cruising toward a 100-win season and seem to be primed for an upcoming playoff run but won’t let up against the Redbirds.
So let’s begin with the most difficult of challenges first, the Chicago Cubs. The St. Louis Cardinals hold a respectable nine wins to six losses record this season entering the 3-game weekend series at Wrigley Field. The Cubs don’t scare the St. Louis Cardinals and neither does being away from home.
Monday, Sept. 26 might be a different story, as St. Louis opens the final stretch at home with a 4-game tilt with the Cincinnati Reds. St. Louis has won eight out of 15 this year against the lowly Reds. And did I mention it’s at home?
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The final weekend welcomes the Pittsburgh Pirates to Busch Stadium. When the schedule came out a year ago and St. Louis Cardinals fans saw a home series to end the season, we rejoiced. Now we simply hope to survive.
Pittsburgh was also the team we expected to battle to the end of September for playoff possibilities. The Cardinals’ only losing divisional record comes to the Pirates this year, losing nine games to-date.
So it’s time to let the scoreboard watching begin. For the Cardinals, the 2016 playoffs look to be getting an early jump on the divisional winners, as each game through these final 10 holds tons of weight if we hope to play meaningful October baseball.
I would rather be resting comfortably in my future, but, never-the-less, I’ll put out my playoff memorabilia a week early and wear my lucky hat 10 days more than usual. It’s playoff baseball time!