The St. Louis Cardinals have turned their season around and have won each series under interim manager Mike Shildt. The winning ways must continue throughout these next six games.
The St. Louis Cardinals sit in second place in the NL-Central some 4.5 games back of the Chicago Cubs as they enter play on Tuesday night. While this might leave some wishing for more, the Cardinals are somewhat securely entrenched in one of the two wild card slots for the NL with Milwaukee holding the other spot.
I use the term “somewhat securely” to indicate that the Colorado Rockies are only 1.5 games back of Cardinals in the wild card with the Phillies and Dodgers nipping at the Rockies feet. The Phillies and Dodgers are 2.5 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild card hunt.
The St. Louis Cardinals are set to play the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds over the next six games at home starting tonight, Tuesday, August 28. To me, these next six games are incredibly crucial. Why?
The St. Louis Cardinals will not again face the Cubs until the last series of the 2018 campaign. This is important if the Cards were focused on winning the NL-Central. I think they should target this and forget about the wild card.
So one could argue then that these next six games aren’t that important. This would be wrong because winning at any point right now must become of paramount importance. Should the St. Louis Cardinals win both series – or even sweep both series – then the pressure is shifted firmly upon the Cubs and the Brewers to keep pace.
On the flip side, should the St. Louis Cardinals drop both series – or, God forbid, get swept in one or both – then the pressure would return to the St. Louis Cardinals to keep pushing in order to get BACK into the race. I think it would be detrimental to the 2018 Cardinals if they had to get BACK into a race at this point.
Likewise, I think the pressure to get BACK into a race would almost certainly spell the end Shildt as manager which would be a major mistake. I’m not at all saying that the Front Office would dispel Shildt based on this but fans would certainly light torches and gather pitchforks.
So then the next six games become very important. If the Cardinals can win the series in both sets, then the Cubs, Brewers, Rockies, Phillies, AND Dodgers must likewise win.