The Race to the Finish – 9.24 Edition

When the Cardinals arrived in Milwaukee, they came riding an 8 game winning streak, and had me excited as a fan. However, my last memory of the Cardinals in Milwaukee was Daniel Vogelbach walking the Cardinals off on a grand slam a few Sundays ago. I was really hoping for a split, and then to beat up on the Cubs. The Cardinals did much more than split!

Game 1 If you had told me two months ago Jon Lester wins his 200th game in a Cardinal uniform, I would have asked you – on XBox or Playstation?

Game 2 If you had told me that Mike Shildt intentionally walked the potential winning run into scoring position, yet the Cardinals found a way to win, I would have called you a liar.

Game 3 If you told me Miles Mikolas looked like he turned the clock back to 2018, and the Cardinals were going to jump out to a 6-0 lead in the 2nd, I would have checked your temperature.

Game 4 If you would have told me that Adam Wainwright, who has been the Cardinals best pitcher in the 2nd half, would spot the Brewers a 5 run lead after giving up a grand slam, and a solo shot, and the Cardinals came back to win, I would have said no way.

If you haven’t figured out that the Cardinals keep defying the odds by continuing to win without losing for their longest stretch (12 game winning streak) since April of 1982, well you just gotta believe me! The Cardinals SWEPT the Brewers, while opening their Wild Card lead to 4.5 games over Philadelphia, 5.5 games over Cincinnati, and 6 games over San Diego.  The MAGIC NUMBER to clinch the second Wild Card is now down to 6 (any combination of Cardinal wins, and Philadelphia losses).  The Cardinals are now left with 10 games remaining – 3 at home against Milwaukee and 7 against Chicago. 

Who do the Cardinals play this weekend?

The Cardinals finish their last road trip of the year in Chicago with a double header today, followed by afternoon games Saturday & Sunday. If the Cardinals can win both games today, they’ll tie their franchise record of 14 straight wins. It’s never easy to win both games of a doubleheader, but the Cardinals have been making everything look relatively easy over the last 2 weeks. If they somehow win both games Friday, look for history Saturday as the Cardinals would be going for their 15th straight win!

What other games should I be paying attention to/ Who should I be rooting for?

There are teams to root against (Philadelphia, Cincinnati, & San Diego), but at this point, if the Cardinals just play average baseball (5-5) over their last 10 games, their competition will need to basically win out to tie. I didn’t see the Cardinals winning 12 in a row, and I also don’t seeing any of the above mentioned teams running the table to end the season – however you never know, so lets hope the Phillies, Reds, and Padres lose a few more games!

How does the Magic Number work?

With the Cardinals Magic Number at 6 – here’s a breakdown of what would need to happen for the Cardinals to clinch.

If the Cardinals go 10-0, 9-1, 8-2, 7-3, or 6-4 – they would win the second Wild Card without any help.

If the Cardinals go 5-5, the Phillies would have to win out to tie, however the Reds & Padres would be eliminated even if they won out.

If the Cardinals go 4-6 the Phillies would only be able to lose once to tie, however the Reds & Padres could tie if they won out.

Hopefully we don’t need to calculate what would happen if the Cardinals win less than 4 games the rest of the season.

I’ll update what the Cardinals need to happen as they enter the last week of the season, however they have a decent chance at clinching the second wild card this weekend if they continue to win and get some help.

The biggest question now, is do the Cardinals want to face the Dodgers or Giants in the Wild Card game. More to come on that question next week, when the Cardinals have hopefully officially clinched the 2nd Wild Card.

Thanks for reading!

Image Credit (John Fisher/Getty Images)


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