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Cardinals Narrow Gap in NL Central

Posted By David Gorsky On Aug 27 2012 @ 8:00 pm In St. Louis Cardinals | No Comments

Entering this weekend’s important series in Cinncinati, St. Louis trailed the division-rival Reds by seven games in the National League Central.  With the added Wild Card spot in this year’s postseason, the importance of winning the division is that much greater.  The Wild Card “winners” are subjected to a one-game, sudden-death round against each other.  It is essentially a  coin flip to determine who advances.  While the Wild Card round should make for an entertaining day of baseball, it is not an ideal position for a team looking to make an extended playoff run. While a seven game deficit may seem like a large mountain to climb, it is not insurmountable.  After all, the 2011 Cardinals trailed by ten games in the NL Wild Card race with a little over a month left in the season, and that story ended with St. Louis raising the World Series trophy.

The process of narrowing that gap began this weekend, with the Cardinals taking two out of three from the Reds.  Allen Craig had a huge series.  He recorded six hits, including two long balls, and drove in six runs.  Craig has put the Cardinals on his back during the month of August, hitting a robust .370 with 17 RBI in 23 games.

Adam Wainwright has also played a big role in the Cardinals’ recent success.  He was a 20-game winner in 2010, but he missed the entire 2011 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.  In the first half of the season, Wainwright was still trying to find himself.  In his first 17 starts, Adam was 7-8 with a 4.56 ERA.  Since then, however, Wainwright has dominated his opponents.  In nine starts since the break, Adam is 6-2 with a 2.13 ERA and a sparkling 6.4 strikeout-to-walk ratio.  Opposing hitters are batting a paltry .211 off him since the All Star break.

The Cardinals open up a three-game series tonight in Pittsburgh with Kyle Lohse taking on A.J. Burnett.

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