ST. LOUIS (KMOV) _- The Cardinals are nine games over .500 and a game and a half out of the wild card race with 41 to play...The team has little time to mess around.
They've got six games remaining against Cincinnati, seven versus Washington, four against the Dodgers and three versus the Pirates.
It's not going to be easy winning those series.
That's why the Redbirds have got to take advantage of the so-called "breaks" in their schedule and beat up on the bad teams.
Make no mistake about it, the Houston Astros -- who come in town tonight for a three-game series -- are a bad club. They are 39-83, 34.5 games out of 1st place in the NL Central, are on pace to lose 110 games this year and have a minus-169 run differential.
Jeff Luhnow's club has scored fewer runs (456) than every team in baseball not named the Cubs. Pitching isn't much better as the staff has the 4th worst ERA at 4.71 in 2012.
You think the Cards should be able to beat them?
But, let's face it. If the St. Louis Cardinals aren't good enough to take at least 2 of 3 from the worst team in the big leagues then the St. Louis Cardinals aren't good enough to be in the playoffs. It's that simple.
Good teams beat bad teams. Good teams don't rise and fall to the level of its competition.
As much as fans in this city would love for it to happen again, there likely won't be another Atlanta Braves 2011 collapse where a team just completely crashes and burns. You can't count on help.
That's why winning series like this one against the Astros is critical. If October 4th rolls around and the Redbirds find themselves on the outside of the postseason looking in because of a game or two...it'll be series like these that will jump out.
So, it begins tonight. 3 games against a team that's won as many games (39) as the Cards had on June 25th.
I've never been one to say you have to sweep another team. That's just unreasonable in this sport over 162 games.
But to say the Cards need to win this series? I believe that's more than reasonable.