The regular season will come to a close on September 28th this year, but that does not mean the month will be easy for a club that should find themselves in contention.
The Cardinals will face off against some tough division foes and some tough teams in general in September. The team will travel to Philadelphia for a four game series that may be a Divisional Series Preview. A home stand will see six games between the Cards and the Reds and Brewers in a battle for the division title. Relief may be in site the last week of the season, but teams like the Mets, Cubs and Astros always prove to be a strong foe, despite what the records show.
Total Games: 26
Vs teams with winning records in 2010: 10
Vs teams with losing records in 2010: 16
Vs teams in the NL Central: 16
September 2-4 vs Cincinnati – the Reds roll into town as the defending Central Division champs and both teams will try to ensure the other is buried in the standings by the end of this one. A heated rivalry that is sure to spark interest in the months leading to Fall, the two divisional favorites will converge for their final three game set to see if one of them can claim supremacy.
September 5-7 vs Milwaukee – are the Reds not enough of a threat to you? Right as they leave town, Milwaukee will square off with the Redbirds for the final time in 2011. The most improved team in the division this off-season will look to leave their mark, and hope to have their pitching staff in tact, in this early September battle for the NL Central crown.
Key To a Hot September:
Again, the Cardinals have to win the games against the weaker opponents and prove that they are a superior team. In addition, with teams like the Reds, Brewers, and Phillies on the schedule, they also need to show their dominance of those franchises and prove that they belong in the post-season discussion.
At the end of September:
If the Cardinals have 16+ wins… they are probably doing just enough to prove that they deserve the division crown and to show they belong in the playoffs. They may need to perform just a little better than this to be considered playoff contenders, though.
If the Cardinals are above .500… they are not doing enough. This team, this late in the season, needs to put the final nail in the coffin of multiple opponents to get the job done.
If the Cardinals are below .500… the only hope is that it’s 2006 all over again and they can back their way into the playoffs. I don’t see it this season, however. The team, the competition, the division is not stacked up that way.
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.
Follow him on Twitter here.