Cheap Seats

Cardinals could deal a knockout blow to Bucs this weekend

The St. Louis Cardinals series with the Pittsburgh Pirates that starts Friday is something local baseball fans circled on their calendar months ago.

The series was billed as a showdown between arguably the two best teams in baseball for a division title and the right to skip the wild card playoff game and head straight to the playoffs.

While the drama is a lot of fun, I’d be even happier to see all the mystery of the remainder of the season evaporate if the Cardinals are able to pound the Pittsburghers and deal a decisive blow.

The once red-hot Pirates have stumbled lately to a 5-5 record. The Redbirds, meanwhile, have streaked to an 8-2 mark over their past 10 games to extend their lead in the division to 6.5 games.

Winning two of three games would propel the Cardinals to 7.5 games ahead of the Pirates with 26 games to play. If the Cardinals, who have played .647 baseball so far this season and who have a string of games against bottom dwellers coming up, can play .500 the rest of the year after that, Pittsburgh would have to win almost all of its remaining games to catch up.

The talk about injuries and the fact that the second-best team in the National League plays in the Cardinals division have distracted fans from the fact that this is one of the top five seasons in Cardinals history.

Hopefully one last push past Pittsburgh will allow Cardinals fans the opportunity to enjoy a stress-free ending to the season and gear up for a nice post-season run.