The St. Louis Cardinals are fading at the wrong time
The St Louis Cardinals were supposed to use games against the Pirates and Tigers to catch up in NL wild card race. It couldn’t be going worse.
This was supposed to be the stretch that launched the St. Louis Cardinals even closer to in position to overtake the second National League Wild Card spot. Consecutive series against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers, two teams under .500.
It couldn’t be off to a worse start. The Cardinals have lost the first two games of the series against the Pirates, with Saturday nights 5-4 loss dropping their playoff odds to a mere 3.8 percent just as they started to increase (9 percent two days ago) in the last week.
The Cardinals, who climbed to within 3.5 games of the San Diego Padres for that second wild card spot, are now 4.5 games back. The Cincinnati Reds have tied the Padres for the position and, after going 7-3 in their last 10 games, are now the favorites to take that position, with the Padres going 2-8 in their last 10 days.
The pressure is on the Cardinals to turn their season around — and fast. The good news is they are starting to get healthy, with Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas off the injured list and Kwang Hyun Kim and Wade LeBlanc not far behind. But the bad news is that has not equated to wins in games that they not only need to win, but should win rather convincingly. Even worse is they have 11 games remaining against the Milwaukee Brewers, one of the best teams in baseball.
It’s the offense, however, that has let them down this season, but especially against the Pirates. They have scored only four runs on 20 hits in the first two games of the series, with Zachary Silver of MLB.com noting they have led for “less than 20 collective minutes.”
The Cardinals enter Sunday looking to avoid their first sweep against the Pirates at Busch Stadium since 1991. A loss wouldn’t end their season, but any optimism that the Cardinals could climb out of this hole would seem to vanish with yet another loss.