The St. Louis Cardinals may not have been able to knock off the Reds, but from here on out, they control their own fate when it comes to the playoffs.
This weekend didn’t quite go how the St. Louis Cardinals imagined it would. The team had dominated the Reds the entire season, but was dominated by Luis Castillo on Friday and lost a shootout on Sunday. Between Friday and Sunday, the Cards did get a good game in from Dakota Hudson, but the series was still lost overall.
On Friday, I wrote about how this series was a must-win for the Reds. After winning the series, their playoff hopes are still alive as they sit just 2.5 games behind the still-second place Cardinals.
However, the Milwaukee Brewers were unable to make up ground on the Cardinals. Still two games back, the Brewers had a rough weekend in Milwaukee against the Cubs. After winning Friday, Josh Hader blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning on Saturday and they were no-hit on Sunday.
Now, the Cardinals and the Brewers are opening their 2020 schedule against each other with a five-game series in Milwaukee.
Just two games apart in the standings, this is huge for the Cardinals’ playoff hopes. Two weeks from today, the 2020 regular season will be over. In between now and then, the Brewers and the Cardinals play each other ten total times including another five games together to finish the year.
If the Cardinals are going to make the playoffs, this is where they are going to earn it.
At this point, it’ll be difficult to catch the high-flying Cubs. After this weekend, they have opened up a 4.0 game lead on the Cardinals but they don’t have an easy schedule left.
Between the two five-game series against the Brewers, the Cardinals have a series against the Pirates and the Royals. Until the end of the season, the Cardinals don’t play a single game against a team with a record above .500.
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The Cardinals themselves have struggled to resist the gravitational pull of .500. If they can keep going, they legitimately could make the playoffs as a .500 team. Right now, the 8th seed in the NL are the Giants who sit at a .489 winning percentage (23-24 record).
The Cardinals have to underperform by a lot to not make the playoffs, but if they want to keep their guaranteed spot as the second seed from the NL Central, they are going to have to go through the Brewers.
As bad as the Cardinals’ offense has been, the Brewers have been worse.
Superstar slugger Christian Yelich is batting just .199 with a .762 OPS on the year, but the Cardinals would be idiots to underestimate him or anyone else, especially when playing at Miller Park.
There is a reason the Brewers are sitting at four games under .500 on the year, the Cardinals should show them that is exactly where they are supposed to be at.
When it is over, there will be no room for excuses if the Cardinals miss the playoffs. I don’t entirely mean that, because the Cardinals have faced tougher circumstances than any other team, but at least we will know exactly why the Cardinals missed the playoffs.
The first five-game series with the Brewers starts with a doubleheader on Monday with Kwang-Hyun Kim against Josh Lindblom in Game 1. The Cardinals have no days off for the next two weeks, so get ready for a lot of meaningful baseball.