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St. Louis Cardinals postseason chances: A Big “IF”

A little bit of rain at the beginning of the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies may not have displeased this Cardinals fan as much as the Cardinals losing to a second straight come from behind Rockies win at Coors Field on July 7, 2010 in Denver. Colorado beat St. Louis 8-7.       UPI/Gary C. Caskey Photo via Newscom

The 2-8 road trip vs. the Pirates, Nationals, and Astros has certainly put a damper on the St. Louis Cardinals’ 2010 postseason hopes.  The Birds need to break out the brooms this weekend against the 1st place Reds, or it’s all over but the cryin’… and the booin’.

If the St. Louis Cardinals (69-62) still want to have any chance of winning the NL Central division, then they must  sweep the Cincinnati Reds (78-55) this weekend.  That’s not all. Let’s say St. Louis does sweep Cincinnati, this still puts the Redbirds five games back with 28 games left.  A deficit that’s certainly not insurmountable.

So your telling me there’s a chance?  Highly unlikely…

Two things would have to happen in order for that fairy tale to unfold.  Two things that have only happened twice sincethey last faced each other (Aug. 9-11).  St.  Louis winning a game the same night Cincinnati loses a game… and THAT needs to happen five times for St. Louis to tie Cincinnati… “if” they sweep they Reds.

Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (R) tags out St. Louis Cardinals baserunner Felipe Lopez (L) who wandered too far off second base and was picked off by Nationals pitcher Livan Hernandez in the fifth inning of their MLB baseball game in Washington August 28, 2010. REUTERS/Gary Cameron (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Last I checked, Cincinnati isn’t losing many games, and unlike the Cardinals they’re taking advantage of their easy schedule.  The Reds have gone 14-4 since getting swept the Cards.

The Cardinals woes have been well documented going 5-13 in that time frame. So not only does St. Louis need to win ball-games, Cincinnati needs to lose.

If the Cards sweep Cincinnati, and that’s a big “if”, they’ll have 28 games remaining to catch Cincy.  Cincinnati will have 26 games left.  Keep in mind Cincinnati hasn’t had a losing month all season, their worst month was in April (12-11).

If they play .5oo ball the rest of the way (which would be a blessing for the Cardinals), Cincinnati will finish with 91 wins.  St. Louis would have to go 20-8 to beat that mark. Of course there’s still a way in to the playoffs if Cincinnati doesn’t struggle down the stretch, but St. Louis still has to look  at a +90 win season in order to beat out Philly and San Fran for the wild card spot.  Heading in to Friday’s play, Philly is five games up on St. Louis.  The Giants are 3 1/2 better.

June 16, 2010 - St. Louis, MISSOURI, USA - epa02206028 St. Louis Cardinals Jamie Garcia delivers a pitch against the Seattle Mariners at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, on 16 June 2010.

The Redbirds control their own fate if they want to play in October, but they could certainly use a little help.  If they win 2/3 of their remaining games, they’ll have a shot to play post season baseball.  That shot starts tomorrow.

This “what if” article along with the Cardinals 2010 postseason chances will cease to exist if the Cardinals lose tomorrow night.  It’s on rookie pitcher Jamie Garcia (12-6, 2.66 ERA) who faces Bronson Arroyo (14-8, 3.82 ERA), game time 8:15 PM ET.

Cardinal fans know the season is on the line this weekend.  They’ll be holding their collective breath tomorrow night, unless the Cards find themselves playing from behind or lose.  Then you shouldn’t be surprised to hear them all exhale one collective “booooooooooo”, and get ready for Sam Bradford’s NFL regular season debut.

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