With 95 games completed in the 2013 season, the St. Louis Cardinals sit atop the National League Central division–two games up on the Pittsburgh Pirates and four games up on the Cincinnati Reds. When the Cardinals end the season at home against the Chicago Cubs on September 29th, will the team still be in first? Here is a review of the remaining schedules for the Cardinals, Pirates, and Reds to see just what is in store for the NL Central.
Cardinals Remaining Schedule
67 games left: 36 home, 31 away
Home Winning Percentage: .622
Away Winning Percentage: .600
Opponents’ Winning Percentage: .498
1. July 29th through August 4th: 5 games in Pittsburgh (DH on the 30th), 3 games in Cincinnati
2. August 26th through September 8th: 3 home games against Reds, 3 games in Pittsburgh, 4 games in Cincinnati, 3 home games against Pirates
Pirates Remaining Schedule
67 games left: 31 home, 36 away
Home Winning Percentage: .640
Away Winning Percentage: .533
Opponents’ Winning Percentage: .488
1. July 29th through August 1st, August 30th through September 1st: 8 home games against the Cardinals
2. September 20th through 22nd, September 27th through 29th: 3 home games against the Reds, 3 games in Cincinnati
Reds Remaining Schedule
65 games left: 33 home, 32 away
Home Winning Percentage: .667
Away Winning Percentage: .469
Opponents’ Winning Percentage: .488
1. August 2nd through 4th, September 2nd through 5th: 7 home games against the Cardinals
2. September 20th through 22nd, September 27th through 29th: 3 games in Pittsburgh, 3 home games against the Pirates
From a Cardinals standpoint, it is nice to see that the team has 5 more home games than away games on the remaining schedule. However, through 95 games, the team has played to a .600 winning percentage or higher both home and away, so this may not be that big of a deal. It will be nice for fans to pack Busch Stadium III and create a playoff atmosphere down the stretch, though.
The Cardinals face teams with a higher winning percentage (.498) than both the Pirates and the Reds (.488 for both). This is unfortunate, but the Cardinals do face teams that currently have losing records for the last six series of the season.
The outlook of the season for the Cardinals will be a little clearer after August 4th. The team will have just played five games in Pittsburgh and three games in Cincinnati. If the team is able to remain in first place after those two series, then the outlook for the rest of the season should be a positive one. However, if they fall out of first place after those two series, they will still have an opportunity to make up ground from August 26th through September 8th. During this span, the Cardinals will face the Reds for two series (one at home) and the Pirates for two series (one at home).
One big benefit for the Cardinals, as long as they are still at or at least very near to first place, is that they finish the season at home against the lowly Cubs. The Pirates will be in Cincinnati for three games to end the season. These two teams will have just got finished with a series against each other just two series prior. Thus, to end the season, the Pirates and Cubs will be beating up on each other while the Cardinals will have a legitimate shot at a sweep against the Cubs, who will have presumably packed up the tents by then.
For the Cardinals sake, I hope Matt Holliday is able to return and be successful sooner rather than later. I hope that Jon Jay can continue to pick it up at the plate–he is hitting .271 with a .364 on-base percentage in July. I hope Chris Carpenter can make it back to the rotation and be effective–this is in doubt after last night’s frustrating performance in Triple-A Memphis. Lastly, I hope that Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, Carlos Beltran, Allen Craig, and Edward Mujica can keep up their All-Star level of play for the rest of the season. Is this a reasonable? Probably not, but I hope that the majority of the six stay hot throughout the rest of the 67 games.
Thus, needless to say, I am looking forward to the rest of the season. It would be nice if the Cardinals had a bigger lead, but it is good for baseball as a whole to have such a tight divisional race involving three teams.
I have said this once and I will say it again. This is a very special team. The team has come down to Earth a little bit lately, but I will stick to my prediction that this year’s Fall Classic will be the Cardinals facing off against the Oakland Athletics.
Until next time…
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