Cheap Seats

Cardinals in position to seize NL Central at home

Losing two of three games against the Chicago Cubs is always going to be something of a disappointment.

But the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday were able to avert disaster Sunday by salvaging the finale of their road trip.

Winning one game of the three-game set allowed the Wee Bears to gain only one game on St. Louis as we enter the last couple of weeks of the season. A sweep would have given Chicago a tidal wave of momentum, allowing them to gain three games over the weekend.

While the games in Chicago were less than satisfactory, road series wasn’t bad on the whole. Including the sweep of Milwaukee, the Birds were 4-2.

Now the Cardinals are in position to fortify their four-game lead in the National League Central race if they can take care of business against the rebuilding Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers.

A lot of fans seem, with St. Louis’ recent struggles, to be losing faith in a team that is on pace to win more than 100 games. But this week ought to be transformational for the team’s sagging offense.

Matt Holliday and Randal Grichuk, to prolific offensive players, are expected to begin easing into the starting lineup over the next few days. On Monday, Cardinals fans are likely to learn if ace Adam Wainwright is really going to make an improbably comeback after suffering what was expected to be a season-ending achilles injury.

In Short: St. Louis still maintains a comfortable division lead, reinforcements who should help address the teams biggest issues are on the way and the schedule plays in their favor.

The only thing to be worried about at this point is the health of catcher and team most valuable player Yadier Molina who injured his thumb on a game-saving play Sunday.

Molina apparently sprained the thumb in his glove hand while applying a tag that nailed what would have been the tying run in the eighth inning Sunday.

Hopefully, the injury isn’t serious. It could be a blessing in disguise if it gives Yadi, who has seemed completely worn down at the plate lately, a few days off. But the Cardinals aren’t the same team on the field -- especially when it comes to the pitching staff -- when he can’t play.

Molina’s bat hasn’t been the same this year and a lot of folks think it’s because of a thumb injury that required surgery last season. It’s vitally important to St. Louis’ post-season hopes that this injury isn’t as serious.