Despite a disappointing loss to the Milwaukee Brewers last night, the St. Louis Cardinals are still in control of the race for National League Central champs.
Yes, they’ll officially be playing in October — they clinched that honor with the Washington Nationals loss in the first game of their doubleheader yesterday — and maintain a two-game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates and, now, the Cincinnati Reds in the division.
Two games up with six games left and a magic number of five definitely means the numbers are on the Cardinals side for being Central champs for the first time since 2009.
Even if the Cardinals go 3-3 against the barely-hanging-on-to-a-wild-card-possibility Nationals and the Chicago Cubs, the Pirates or Reds would need to go 5-1 in their final six games just to tie and thus force a one-game playoff for the division title. And that’s definitely an “or” situation — there’s no way both teams could both go 5-1, given they play each other next Friday through Sunday.
Interestingly, with the Nats five games back in the wild card race and also with six left to play, both the Pirates and Reds would benefit from the Cardinals winning tonight. Think they’ll be cheering them on during their respective games against the Cubs (Pirates) and Mets (Reds)? Scoreboard watching, certainly.
Tonight the Cardinals are back home to face the Nats at Busch Stadium — with brand-new outfield turf that could be rather interesting — for the final home stand of the regular season. Adam Wainwright goes for the Cardinals against Tanner Roark for the Nationals, starting at 7:15 p.m. Central Time.