St. Louis Cardinals: The team faces a tough climb to the summit

jbuchheit
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 03: Nicholas Castellanos #6 of the Chicago Cubs hops after hitting a three run home run in the 5th inning against the Seattle Mariners at Wrigley Field on September 03, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 03: Nicholas Castellanos #6 of the Chicago Cubs hops after hitting a three run home run in the 5th inning against the Seattle Mariners at Wrigley Field on September 03, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

The St. Louis Cardinals have been hot of late, but with a daunting schedule on the horizon, the team could find itself in a backslide if it isn’t careful.

The upcoming schedule for the St. Louis Cardinals is not an easy one. After three games with the Colorado Rockies, the Cardinals will play the Milwaukee Brewers, the Washington Nationals, the Chicago Cubs, the Arizona Diamondbacks and then the Cubs again to finish the season.

While the Cardinals have excelled lately, their last three series have come against the Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates — hardly formidable foes. Outside of the team taking two out of three games against the Brewers on Aug. 26-28, the last truly tough opponents the Cardinals have faced were the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland Athletics on Aug. 1-7. The Cardinals lost all five games.

With the Cardinals 4.5 games ahead of the Cubs and facing them seven more times, the season is likely to go down to the wire. Something going for the Cardinals in that series is that star Cubs infielder Javier Baez could be out with an injury for the remainder of the season.

But the rest of the lineup is nothing to sneeze at. New addition Nicholas Castellanos has raked, and Willson Contreras has enjoyed a bounceback season. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo also remain threats, and Kyle Hendricks has been solid on the mound again this year.

More from St Louis Cardinals News

While the matchups with the Cubs are the most high-stakes, the Brewers shouldn’t be taken lightly either. Christian Yelich dismantled Cardinals pitching early in the season, and he remains a threat every time he steps into the box. The team’s ace, Brandon Woodruff, strained an oblique and will likely miss the series, which is another stroke of luck for the Cardinals.

The Nationals will be a tough team to hit, especially if Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg take the hill in the series. Outfield phenom Juan Soto is hitting nearly .300 on the season. However, the Nationals have faded of late, going 3-5 in September so far, and face another potential collapse.

A team that has not faded is the Diamondbacks, possibly the hottest team in baseball right now. Starting Aug. 25, the Diamondbacks rattled off a six-game winning streak, and after a single loss, followed it with a five-game winning streak. They are back in the Wild Card chase.

Infielder Ketel Marte was the National League Player of the Week and has had an MVP-type season, and former Cardinal Carson Kelly has impressed now that he has been given the chance to play regularly. The pitching is strong too, with former Cardinal minor leaguer Zac Gallen performing like an ace.

But before the schedule gets tough, the Cardinals have a series in Colorado against the Rockies. If the Cardinals play the way they have been playing, it should be a sweep and hopefully give them some more breathing room before the real challenge begins.

dark. Next. Prospects heading out West for Arizona Fall League

The remaining games will give fans a good idea of what the Cardinals will likely be in the postseason if they reach it. A stellar performance will be a reason for optimism, but if the Cardinals limp to the finish line, there will be a lot of questions going forward.

facebooktwitterreddit