What's the only thing that could take the shine off the St. Louis Cardinals dominating series against the Milwaukee Brewers?
Turning in a clunker in the Redbirds' upcoming four-game set against the sagging Cincinnati Reds.
The Cardinals are 9-3 against Cincinnati this season while the Reds are in fourth place in the National League Central division with a 67-76 record. They've only had one winning month this season, June, when they were 18-10. Since then the Reds are 24-37 including a 1-5 start to September. Those facts add up to the impression that this series is going to be like taking candy from a baby.
But the Birds can't let themselves be sucked into a false sense of security. They need to remember that the Reds would like nothing better than to play spoiler to the Cardinals whom their players have professed to hate over recent years. Even former St. Louis general manager Walt Jocketty seems to have it in for his old club, virtually giving reliever Jonathan Broxton to the Brewers to bolster their position against St. Louis.
Fortunately, the Cardinals kept Milwaukee from having many leads to protect in their recently-completed series.
The Reds can still send some pretty good starting pitchers to the hill against St. Louis. The Cardinals are going to have to keep their bats hot and manufacture runs to try to get ahead and pull away. Because, even without Broxton, the Reds can still be a handful in the late innings with Aroldis Chapman waiting to make an appearance.
Chapman has been a little free with the walks. But he's only allowed 20 hits in 45 2/3 innings of work while racking up 89 strikeouts. So you don't want to be behind late in the games.
Again, the Cardinals need to keep their foot on the pedal. While they extended their lead in the Central Division to five games over Milwaukee, the Pirates have slipped past the Brewers and are 4 1/3 back.
While the Redbirds are messing around with Cincinnati, the Pirates will be playing the last place Philadelphia Phillies. This is no time for a letdown.