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Cards face their toughest stretch

While the Cardinals front office waits to pull the trigger -- or even if it wants to put any bullets in its gun -- the guys on the field are coming into what could be the make or break part of their season.

Following their current series at Houston and a make up game against the Nationals, the Cardinals go to first place Philadelphia to play the hottest team in baseball. The Phillies are in the midst of a nine-game wining streak. After that, they come home to play a four-game set against the Dodgers, the team with the best record in baseball. They come home to play the division rival Astros again, and then jet off to New York to play a two-game set against the always dangerous Mets.

If they can survive that long in the race, the Cardinals then see a softer stretch with series against the Pirates, Reds and Padres. Then it's back to the grind against the Dodgers before playing San Diego, Houston and the Nationals to wrap up August.

In September they play Milwaukee six times and the Cubs three. So, hold onto your hats. This could get interesting.