I have been one of the most, if not the most, optimistic St. Louis Cardinals fan for the 2017 season. However, I see the light at the end of the tunnel and a hill still to climb to salvage our season.
The St. Louis Cardinals just took three out of four from the San Francisco Giants, which was a necessity to stay in the hunt. Now with a four-game series against the weak San Diego Padres, we must do it again.
I mentioned on August 22nd, after the St. Louis Cardinals slipped in my Predator Power Index Projections, it was going to definitely take one of three teams: Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks, or Colorado Rockies, to stumble for us to catch-up. Well, that may have just happened.
I think it is almost 100% consensus now, we are not going to catch the Chicago Cubs for the division. I do not even hold optimism for that.
However, we find ourselves only three games back of the Wild Card thanks to the recent bad play of the Colorado Rockies. The Colorado Rockies over their past 21 games have gone 7 wins and 14 losses. Right now, they have posted four straight losses.
I know the St. Louis Cardinals have not been lighting it up, but even our mediocre past 21 games having a 10-win and 11-loss record gains three games of ground. At the end of the day, that is all that matters.
Now, this is not a two-team race. We cannot forget how well the Milwaukee Brewers have stormed back after a slow start to the second half of the season. They have flipped the script the past 21 games with 13 wins and 8 losses. This has them in a great spot being 0.5 games back of the Colorado Rockies.
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All signs point towards the end of the year having a magnificent finish in the division, possibly, but even more-so with the Wild Card. It could come down to the final three-game series of the season between the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers for the second Wild Card spot.
Schedule comparison between the two teams is insane as well. Both clubs have six games left versus the Pirates and Reds, as well as seven games left versus the Cubs. The only mix is that in mid-September they have a three-game set versus the Miami Marlins and we have our next series versus the San Diego Padres.
The Colorado Rockies on the other hand, have a tough seven games versus the dominant Los Angeles Dodgers and four games versus the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, they also get breaks with five games versus the San Francisco Giants and seven games versus San Diego Padres.
Honestly, that break-down of a schedule it is tough to tell of the toughness. Will the Dodgers continue their dominance or get healthy for playoffs? Will the Giants and Padres play as badly as they have all season with new September call-ups?
I have said this once before, but I will say it again, the 2017 St. Louis Cardinals are down to their final strike. They must take three of four versus the Padres coming up. They must also play much better versus the division to finish the season. If they do not, I guess we can just be positive giving our young guys some opportunities.