St. Louis Cardinals: The final stand for the 2017 Cardinals is now

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 27: Manager Mike Matheny
PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 27: Manager Mike Matheny /

The St. Louis Cardinals enter this weekend against the Chicago Cubs with their backs against the wall.

After Thursday’s loss to the New York Mets, the St. Louis Cardinals found themselves in desperation mode. While it’s easy to say the Cardinals have been there all season, this is the first time I truly feel like the team is about to have a full meltdown.

At the beginning of the break, I went on our two-hour podcast special and said these first three series for the Cardinals were some of the most important in the second half. It was important for the Cardinals to star off hot against the weaker teams in Pittsburgh and New York.

Unfortunately, the St. Louis Cardinals did not heed my warning. Now they find themselves facing a Chicago Cubs team, who has won six games in a row. The Cardinals have now also slipped into fourth place in the NL-Central division, 4.5 games back of Milwaukee.

What’s even more disappointing is the fact the Brewers have lost five games in a row. While this mini losing streak may not hold out, the Cardinals missed a glorious opportunity to make up ground in the division. Had it not been for the bullpen in some games, the team could actually find themselves within a game or two of first place.

Yeah, wouldn’t that have been nice.

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If the St. Louis Cardinals want to turn this season around, it starts today in Chicago.

In my opinion, the Cardinals have no other choice, but to sweep the Cubs this weekend, at the very least win two of three.

Lucky for the Cards, it will not be an easy task.

The Cardinals will face Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, and newly acquired Jose Quintana. You couldn’t draw it up any better. If you don’t have any faith in the team, remember the Cardinals have beat both Lester and Arrieta this season. It can be done, but the Cardinals need to come out with some fire in their belly.

Something has to change, and it starts with Mike Matheny. The St. Louis Cardinals’ manager needs to approach this series as if his job were on the line, he needs to find a way to get the team rallied behind him. Unfortunately, ownership still has a lengthy leash with Matheny, but this should be the final straw.

Related Story: An open letter to Mike Matheny

This team cannot continue to afford losses while the top of the division sinks itself as well. If the manager is unable to rally his troops to play consistent baseball, then it’s on the veteran leaders of the team: Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright.

The leaders on this team need to approach this series as if it decided on the playoffs starting the following Monday. Everyone needs to be on the same page if this season is going to be turned around. That starts with the negative comments made teammates about other teammates.

Take Matt Carpenter‘s comments from yesterday’s game for instance. He decided to use the media time to voice his frustration with Trevor Rosenthal for not covering first base  towards the end of the game. While Rosenthal definitely made a mistake, what good does it do Carpenter to call his teammate out then?

I find it funny Carpenter would criticize others, but no point the finger in his own direction for his base running. Aren’t mistakes on the base paths something that just can’t happen?

I’m not saying Matt Carpenter is Miguel Montero, but look what happened to Montero after the comment’s he made. Do the Cardinals really need the negativity in the midst of trying to turn the season around? No.

If the Cardinals are not going to put up a fight this weekend, then admit defeat and make the most of this season while you can. That means moving pieces and using time to develop younger players. Will it stink if the Cardinals miss out on the playoffs for a second year in a row? Absolutely, but don’t tell it to me. Let the front office and ownership know instead.

Which team will Cardinal Nation see this weekend? I’m hoping the Cardinals set differences aside and move on to this important series against the Cubs. Otherwise, it will be a long rest of the summer.