August heats up for the Cardinals and everyone currently predicts they will still be in the hunt of things when it does.
If in fact the Cardinals do find themselves deep in the division competition, one of the predicted top of the division foes will be the Milwaukee Brewers. The two teams will surely find some separation this month as they face of eight times in the Midwest heat.
The Cardinals will also find themselves on the road for most of August and facing other division foes like the Cubs and Pirates who, despite their records, seem to do a good job of playing spoiler.
Total Games: 28
Vs teams with winning records in 2010: 10
Vs teams with losing records in 2010: 18
Vs teams in the NL Central: 18
August 1-3 at Milwaukee, 9-11 vs Milwaukee, 30-31 at Milwaukee – the Brewers will look to untuck the Cardinals playoff hopes before September arrives while the boys in red will attempt to prove that all the pitching help Milwaukee employed during the off-season will not help them win a pennant.
While the Brewers were the most improved team in the NL Central this off-season, many pundits question whether they did enough. Over the course of these three series in August, we should find out just what the team is made of.
August 22-24 vs Los Angeles – The boys of Dodger Blue come calling near the end of the month and may have a chip on their shoulder to prove as well. A team stuck in the middle of a youth movement and a contender, the Dodgers may or may not find themselves in the thick of things by late summer depending on who you ask. Either way, these two storied franchises will challenge the thermometer to keep up with the play on the field as they light it up for a Summer classic in St. Louis.
Key To a Hot August:
The August schedule is an interesting one. There are teams the Cardinals should, and honestly have to, beat as well as contenders and division foes. It will be a challenge for the Cardinals as the season really heats up. This is the month that lineups and rotations have to prove they are healthy and can compete as their bodies are giving out.
At the end of August:
If the Cardinals have 14+ wins… they are not playing well enough to win this division. With 18 games against teams within the division, the Cardinals have to over-achieve a bit in August.
If the Cardinals are above .500… they have a start towards a playoff run. Honestly, this team does not need to finish above .500 in August, it needs to finish well above .500 in August. Anything less than 18 wins and September will be real interesting.
If the Cardinals are below .500… the season is looking down a barrel of the nastiest kind. If this team is under-achieving to this level and expects the Pujols contract not to be a distraction, everyone is fooled. If the Cardinals want to keep Pujols on the back burner and the season in focus, they cannot lose the month of August.
Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
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