Two months into the season, the team should have established what they will be in 2011. Judging where that may or may not be is a bit premature currently but breaking down what they will face in June is worth analyzing.
An interesting month where the Cardinals will not play a single Monday game and find themselves with very few games against division foes, June will not be a month that makes or breaks this season. At the same time, games against teams that the Cardinals need to show superiority over will take place and the team will look to kill the curse of last year where they found themselves playing poorly against teams with losing records.
Total Games: 26
Vs teams with winning records in 2010: 8
Vs teams with losing records in 2010: 18
Vs teams in the NL Central: 9
June 3-5 vs Chicago – the loveable losers of the Chicago Northside will visit the not so friendly confines of Busch Stadium for the first time in 2011. The Cubs may not be competitors by the time they arrive in St. Louis, but that has never stopped this series from being interesting before. These two teams seem to put up classic battles on the field and in the stands every season, despite either team’s current performance. Cubs fans will surely invade Busch Stadium and Cardinal fans will surely attempt to protect their turf.
June 24-26 vs Toronto – The Blue Jays will come to town at the end of the month and be on a mission to prove that they improved enough to be contenders in 2011. The birds from North of the border will be in full swing to push forward into a hopeful playoff run and many experts think they will hang around in the American League East well into September. The Cardinals could find one of their biggest challenges of the month in this interleague matchup.
Key To a Hot June:
The Cardinals will need to improve their ability to beat the teams they should beat if they are going to be contenders this season. The month of June may be one of their biggest tests despite looking like one of their easiest months. The middle of the season can find players “going through the motions” and they will need to push through their competitive streaks to come out of the month as the front runners of the National League Central.
At the end of June:
If the Cardinals have 14+ wins… they have tread water well enough to continue to be considered a winning ball club. Most of the series this month should be a two-out-of-three win segment for the team.
If the Cardinals are .500… then they are failing to put away the teams that they simply have to beat. This team cannot be playing .500 baseball in the month of June.
If the Cardinals are below .500… then trade rumors and season ending discussions will run rampant. The team has to win in months where the schedule are laid out like it is in June. If they are not winning, there is a greater possibility of injuries or other factors off the field at play. This team is far too good to lose the month of June.