July 29: Cardinals (54-47) @ Cubs (41-58)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

There’s been little not to like about the Cardinals’ recent nine-game stretch — one in which they have gone 7-2. Except that it has done nothing to help St. Louis in the standings. With the Reds on a nine-game winning streak, the Cardinals have actually seen their deficit in the National League Central grow by 1 1/2 games during this 7-2 run.

If there is good news in all this is that the Cardinals don’t have an even worse hole to climb out of. Consider, for instance, if the club had played .500 baseball (or even worse) during the Reds’ recent tear. That could have made the deficit nearly insurmountable, even with two months remaining on the schedule.

The Reds are bound to lose (soon), and the Cards have six head-to-head games against Cincinnati later in the year to capitalize upon. But if there’s been anything learned since the All-Star break, it’s that the Reds (and I should throw the Pirates in the category, too) are for real and can be expected to make the Cardinals climb up the standings difficult over the next two months.

CARDINALS LINEUP:

  1. Daniel Descalso (SS)
  2. Allen Craig (RF)
  3. Matt Holliday (LF)
  4. Carlos Beltran (CF)
  5. Yadier Molina (C)
  6. David Freese (3B)
  7. Matt Carpenter (1B)
  8. Tyler Greene (2B)
  9. Adam Wainwright (RHP)

CUBS LINEUP:

  1. David DeJesus (CF)
  2. Starlin Castro (SS)
  3. Anthony Rizzo (1B)
  4. Alfonso Soriano (LF)
  5. Bryan LaHair (RF)
  6. Steve Clevenger (C)
  7. Darwin Barney (2B)
  8. Luis Valbuena (3B)
  9. Paul Maholm (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

1 Comment

Too critical of Beltran’s plate appearane with bases loaded in yesterday’s ballgame.

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