Cheap Seats

Cardinals survive grueling road trip to fight another day

There aren't many ways to positively spin a 3-8 road trip. Especially when the Cardinals racked up five of those losses against National League Central foes.

But at least the Redbirds are coming home only 1 1/2 game out of the division lead with a firm grasp on a wildcard playoff spot.

Their schedule doesn't get any easier -- with four games against the Dodgers, the hottest team in Major League Baseball -- coming up. Los Angeles has won 14 games in a row on the road.

But the Cardinals have been one of the toughest teams to beat on their home field so far this year. And they need to make the most out of a stretch where they play 17 of their next 24 contests at Busch Stadium.

If the Birds can make it past the Dodgers without losing any ground on Pittsburgh, they get a chance to exact some revenge against the Pirates at home in between a home and away set against the Cubs. Then they go to Milwaukee to play the Brewers who were a mess even before they lost cheater outfielder Ryan Braun to suspension for the rest of the season.

It stinks that the Cardinals had a lousy road trip and found themselves in second place. But, obviously, there are ample opportunities to get back on top in the immediate future.