When we left Saint Louis for the summer, at the end of May, the Saint Louis Cardinals were busy settling themselves in for a season of mediocrity. In all of our travels, I kind of lost the bead on Redbird baseball. Their firing of the manager was about all that penetrated my fog of travel and it only confirmed my belief that this was not going to be their year. How wrong I was.
The All Star break framed manager Mike Matheny’s release and also marked the start of the team’s turnaround. The second half Cards now sports a win-loss record of 23-11, giving them the best second half record in baseball. We’ve been back in town this month and the Redbirds winning percentage has accelerated with a 17-4 record for the month of August.
With 34 games played since the All-Stars and 34 for more yet to be played in the regular season, we are now entering the fourth quarter, so to speak. This week the Redbirds grasped, let slip and grabbed again a post-season wildcard slot. In addition to their slot, the Cardinals also took the series from the Brewers. Then the Redbirds went on to sweep the Dodgers at their home. Uneasy though sits this crown. The Brewers having just lost that slot still sit only half a game back from the Cards in the division. Tonight the Rockies host the Redbirds for an important series, while also sitting only a game back for a wildcard slot too.
I haven’t even mentioned the Cubs yet, who still lead the division and represent the Cardinals next big challenge. In the last 34 games the Redbirds have shaved their lead by five games, St. Louis has 34 more games to close the remaining three game gap. Most likely this horse race will come down to the final series, where as always the Cards face the Cubs to finish out the regular season. It looks to be a wild ride through this final quarter, where it ain’t over ’till its over.