There are four weeks left in the Major League Baseball regular season. With a 79-57 record, and tied with Pittsburgh for first atop the National League Central division, the Cardinals will now face their toughest test.
The Cardinals will begin a four-game series in Cincinnati on Monday. Their record against the Reds this season is 10-5, but the Reds are fighting for their playoff lives and will not go down easy. With the Cardinals rotation struggling as of late, and their bullpen being overworked as a result, this will be a tough four-game series.
The Redbirds will then come home to face their other division foes, the Pittsburgh Pirates, in a three-game series.Their record against the Pirates this season is 6-10. The Bucs are looking for their first winning season and playoff berth in over 20 years. They have given the Cardinals fits this year and will continue to do so.
The Pirates and Reds will have to face each other six more times after they face the Cardinals, so that should benefit St. Louis. The Pirates also have a three-game series in Texas and the Reds have a three-game series against the Dodgers. These series should benefit the Cardinals as they have the easier September schedule.
After the seven games against their division rivals, the Cardinals will play their final 19 games against teams that are sub-.500, including two series against Milwaukee and a four-game series against Colorado. If the Cardinals are intent on winning the division and going deep into the playoffs, they should win a vast majority of these final 19. The next seven games may be the ones that define what they are in this final month of the season.