The Cardinals have put themselves in a decent position coming down the stretch. Considering the first half, they’re in a really good position. The Birds are right in the hunt for a Wild Card spot and are looking for their first playoff birth since 2015. They’re going to have to earn it though, as they have a tough schedule to end the season.
The Cards opened up a three-game set in Atlanta last night with the National League East-leading Braves.
The Braves have been very good this season. They are on the brink of clinching their first NL East title since 2013 and are all but a lock for the postseason. The Cardinals are going to have their hands full for the rest of this series.
After the three-game road trip, the Redbirds will have a day off on Thursday before beginning a six-game homestand. They’ve actually been better away from Busch Stadium, but there’s no place like home in late September.
San Francisco Giants
The first three games of the homestand will be played against the San Francisco Giants. The Giants are out of playoff contention and are the weakest team the Cards will face the rest of the way, but it’s those types of teams that like to play spoiler this time of year.
A team like the Giants with good talent and nothing to lose can be dangerous. It won’t be a series to take lightly for St. Louis. Though San Francisco has been abysmal on the road this year, at 29-46, they have split the season series with the Cards at two wins apiece.
The Cardinals have struggled to beat the Giants in the past when the games mean the most. Every Cardinals fan remembers the 2012 and 2014 NLCS’ and it was September 2016 that the Giants split a big series with the Redbirds that helped keep St. Louis out of the playoffs.
After the Giants leave town, the schedule gets really tough.
The Milwaukee Brewers are currently in second place in the NL Central and they are holding on to the top Wild Card spot. They’ve got a powerhouse lineup and two MVP candidates in Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich.
Being in the same division, the Brewers and Cardinals are very familiar with each other. They’ve gone head to head 16 times this season and both have won eight games. In the last series between the two teams back in mid-August the Cards won two of three at Busch Stadium. If they can do the same this time it would be a huge win.
After Milwaukee leaves, the Redbirds will get one final off day before traveling north for the final, and possibly biggest, series of the season.
That’s right, the Cardinals last series of the 2018 season will be played at Wrigley Field against the rival, division-leading Cubs.
By the time this series rolls around the Birds will likely have already been eliminated from winning the division, but, don’t expect Joe Maddon and the Cubbies to take it easy on the Cards. If they have an opportunity to keep St. Louis out of the postseason, they’ll do everything they can to make it happen.
The two clubs have seen each other 16 times and the Cubs have the advantage with nine wins to the Cardinals’ seven. Chicago has also been good on the road in 2018, going 40-35 to this point. Much like St. Louis though, they’ve slowed down in September after a very good August. They could go on a run between now and the end of the month though. Either way, they’ll be ready for the Cardinals and it should be one of the most fun series of the season.
Featured Image by Associated Press/News Tribune
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