Interleague play wrapped up Sunday, and we learned something about the St. Louis Cardinals. For starters, if the Cardinals are fortunate enough to return to the World Series, the team will have to fare much better against the American League than it did during the last couple weeks.
The Redbirds put up an 8-7 mark against the AL’s Central Division. Of the five series, St. Louis lost three—two of those at home.
Before last weekend’s three-game set in Kansas City, the Cardinals scored five or more runs just twice in the previous 12 games against AL pitchers. The team won both of those games—5-3 over the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox and a 10-7 victory over the Royals two days later. The Cardinals broke out of their offensive slump over the weekend—scoring 30 runs in a three-game sweep of the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
The Cardinals are now in third place in the National League Central Division—just two games out of first place. Following a three-game series against the Miami Marlins that begins tonight, St. Louis will play host to the Pittsburgh Pirates next weekend and are hoping to leapfrog the Bucs, who sit a game back of division leader Cincinnati. The Reds and Redbirds don’t play again until July 13, with a three-game series in Cincinnati to resume play after the All-Star break.
Two players who have gotten hot as of late are second baseman Daniel Descalso and left fielder Matt Holliday. Descalso has seemingly won the fulltime job, with seven hits in his last 19 at-bats and just two errors over the past two months. Holliday’s batting average is back around .300, following a stellar series at Kauffman Stadium. A four-hit day on Saturday helped. The return of center fielder Jon Jay and first baseman Matt Carpenter from injuries also helped.
If the Cardinals are going to keep the offensive revival going and build momentum going into the All-Star break, then the team is going to have to play well against the Marlins. Six of the next 13 games are against Ozzie Guillen’s team. The series against the Reds then could be for first place.