How things have changed.
After the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 win Thursday night over the Milwaukee Brewers, the Redbirds likelihood of making the post season has soared to 92 percent, according to mlb.com's playoff probability calculator.
Meanwhile the Brew Crew's chances of making the playoffs have dwindled to only 50 percent.
It's a stark difference from where things were only about a week ago. On Aug. 30 the Cardinals' fortunes were pegged at only 59 percent. The Brewers, on Aug. 26 before their current nine-game losing streak began, were calculated to have a 93 percent chance of making it to the post season.
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With 22 games left and a four-game lead over Milwaukee, the Cardinals have nine home games and 13 road contests left. Besides six games left with Milwaukee, the Birds have no more games left against teams with winning records. In fact, they play the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks who have the two worst records in the National League.
If the Cardinals can will 11 of their remaining games, they'd finish at 88-74. So Milwaukee would have to go 15-7 to catch them. Besides their games with St. Louis, the Brewers must play the Miami Marlins, the Cincinnati Reds, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs.
While the Reds have faded recently, the Marlins are near .500, the Pirates having a winning record and are still playing meaningful games and the Cubs have been playing much better with an infusion of youth.
Of course, the Cardinals certainly ought to be able to do better than playing .500 baseball against a bunch of losing teams. They need to stay hot and force the issue. They can really help their cause if they can continue to beat Milwaukee. If they can take half of their remaining games with the Brewers, they'd be four games ahead with 16 left to play.
If the Cardinals can win 14 of their remaining 22 games, Milwaukee would have a seemingly impossible task of going 18-4 to catch St. Louis. The Redbirds are one game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and three games behind the Washington Nationals for the best record -- and home field advantage -- in the National League playoffs.
So, Cardinals, let's keep that foot pressing hard on the gas peddle all the way to the finish line.