The Cardinals managed to extend their lead by a game while they were playing the mediocre but dangerous Astros and the Cubs were playing the woeful Nationals.
Let's hope they can do the same now that they plan the Woeful nationals and the Cubs play the mediocre but dangerous Mets.
The Birds send their newest starter, John Smoltz, to the hill in game one against John Lannan (8-9, 4.03.) Smoltz pitched five shutout innings -- with nine strikeouts -- during his first St. Louis start against San Diego. Washington's lineup isn't much better.
His numbers are decent overall. But Lannan got creamed by the Brewers in his last start, giving up six runs in the first two innings. He's a lefty, which was poison to the Cardinals in the first half of the season. But since the arrival of Matt Holliday the Redbirds are 11-2 against southpaws.
On Saturday Mitchell Boggs (1-2, 4.58) faces Nationals hurler Craig Stammen (4-6, 5.08).
Sunday's game features Garrett Mock (3-5, 5.23), who has the worst name for a major league starting pitcher since Bob Walk, against St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright (15-7, 2.50).
With Chris Carpenter's misfire Thursday, Wainwright has an oppotunity to take the lead in the derby for the NL Cy Young Award. He is tied for the league lead in wins and, according to mlb.com, has a sparkling 1.98 ERA in his last 18 starts.