About a month ago the St. Louis Cardinals set out on the road trip from hell. The tour took them through Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati for 11 games in just ten days. Even though the Redbirds finished the trip with a three-game series win at the Great American Ballpark their ultimate record on the trek through the ballparks of postseason contenders was 3-8. The club then returned to St. Louis and dropped three of four to the white-hot Los Angeles Puigs.
An even more brutal stretch lies ahead for el Birdos even if the makeup is three parts home and two parts road.
Tomorrow, the Braves come to the Gateway City for a four-game weekend series. With today's victory over the Mets the Braves moved to 77-49 overall which is good for a .611 winning percentage. The Bravos are on pace to win 99 games even if their +133 run differential lags behind the Cards' +142.
On Monday, the Redlegs arrive at Busch for a three-game series. At 71-55 entering tonights game against Arizona, Cincinnati is just 2.0 games behind St. Louis in the NL Central and Wild Card homefield advantage races. The Reds' run differential as of this writing is +86.
After Dusty Baker's crew leaves town the Cardinals will too. The Redbirds will fly to Pittsburgh for a three-game weekend series against the NL Central frontrunners. The Pirates currently lead the Cardinals by 1.5 and Reds by 3.5 in the division standings despite their +51 run differential being the lowest of the three. Pitt plays the Padres in San Diego tonight.
The Cardinals will fly from Pittsburgh after their three-game weekend series against the Pirates to Cincinnati for a four-game weekday series against the Reds that concludes on Thursday, September 5. On Friday, September 6, the Cardinals return home to host the Pirates in a three-game weekend series at Busch.
This stretch could very well make or break the Cardinals' season.