The Race to the Finish!

With an off day today after the sweep of the Mets, all the Cardinals can do is get ready for San Diego this weekend. But as Cardinals fans, don’t forget to root for the Pirates, Giants, and Cubs (gosh that last one is hard). Hopefully Miles Mikolas starts the series off right tomorrow night in what should be a fun series. When the calendar turns over to September 17th, the Cardinals will have 17 games remaining. Let’s look at who the Cardinals, leaders of the second wild card by 1 game over the Padres, still have to play.

The Cardinals have 17 games left, yet only have 3 different opponents! In fact, after the Cardinals finish with the Padres this weekend, they only play the Brewers & Cubs. They go on the road for 8 games in 7 days, starting in Milwaukee for 4, and then a double header Friday in Chicago, followed by afternoon games Saturday & Sunday. I think the Cardinals will know much more about their chances following that 2 city, 8 game road trip.

The Brewers could wrap up the division this weekend as their Magic Number is 5, but will probably unfortunately look to do it against St. Louis. Hopefully the Brewers take their proverbial foot off the pedal and lose some interest once they’ve clinched (the Cardinals can only hope so). I think Milwaukee would love to bury a divisional foe, however Craig Counsell should be interested in getting guys rest, along with not pushing starters so hard before the playoffs.

I’m almost more worried about the remaining games against Chicago, as they have nothing to play for, and can simply play “free and easy” as a spoiler. Some of the Cubs hitters seem to be hot, which could lead to less than ideal results for the Cardinals. It never seems to be easy for the Cardinals at Wrigley, but anything less than 3 out 4 next weekend should be considered a failure.

While the Cardinals are fighting it out with the Padres and divisional foes, the Reds & Padres (closest teams vying for the 2nd WC) play quite different schedules. The Reds have the easiest schedule remaining as they play the Pirates 6 more times, the Nationals for 4, the White Sox for 2, and the Dodgers for 3. The Padres finish their season with ALL of their games against the top four teams in the NL – 6 against the Giants, 4 against the Braves, and 3 with the Dodgers. A lot of these games for San Diego will depend on how close divisional races are, but I feel like they have their hands full.

Look for another update, as the Cardinals hope to continue their winning ways down the stretch.

Thanks for reading!

(Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports)

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