I cannot believe I am writing this. I'm not really even sure if it's worth getting my hopes up. I honestly don't believe it will happen, and I don't think I really love the idea of the St. Louis Cardinals changing their trade deadline plans...
But the Cardinals have a chance to turn their season around this weekend.
Yup, you read that right. The Cardinals are 8-2 in their last 10 games and now sit 10 games back of the first-place Brewers. The Brewers have been playing good baseball of late, but everyone's favorite bandwagon team Reds have dropped 7 of their last 10 and are now 2.5 games out of first place.
The Cardinals are slated to face the Cubs this weekend, and it could not have come at a more perfect time. It feels like during the second half of every season, there is a critical series played at Wrigley between these two teams. I don't think it's an exaggeration that the Cardinals' season is officially on the line during this series.
This is how the Cardinals' series against the Cubs could change their season
If the Cardinals find a way to pull off a four-game sweep of the Cubs, they'll be at 47-53, and likely only 6-8 games back of the division lead. The fact that the Brewers and Reds have not pulled away with this division tells you everything you need to know about them. The Cardinals, if they can shrink the gap this weekend, could realistically convince themselves that they can claim the division title by season's end.
If the series goes in favor of Chicago with a soul-crushing sweep, or taking three of four from the Cardinals, I think St. Louis leaves town knowing exactly what they have to do, and that is sell. Heck, even if they just split the series, I'm not sure how the Cardinals can take themselves seriously as contenders.
I'm not advocating for the Cardinals to cancel their selling plans, and I am most definitely not arguing for them to start buying rental players, I just see a scenario here this weekend where the Cardinals are back and fighting for the division again.
As crazy as it sounds, the Cardinals can also point to their August schedule as even more reason to claim ground in the standings. They have a series against the Twins, Rockies, Rays, Royals, Athletics, Mets, Pirates, Phillies, and Padres. Most of the teams on that list have been some of the worst in baseball this year, and even the contenders listed have struggled in recent weeks.
Pay close attention to the Cardinals this weekend. If they bring out the broomsticks in Chicago, things get very interesting. If things go south, their plans of selling are finally cemented.