Opportunity is Knocking; Will the Cards Answer?

pirate girl 11.jpg
Here's a sexy pirate pinup girl. Cards are playing the Pirates; I want to go sexy pirate girl. I think it makes perfect sense. 
It is both obvious and cliched to say that any series this time of year is pivotal. After all, you get down to the end of August, and every single out of every game has potential implications, much less entire series. 

But after taking two of three from the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend (yay!), the Cardinals are off to Pittsburgh for a huge three game set with the Pirates. Depending on how things play out over the next three days between the Redbirds and Buccos in the Steel City, the playoff picture could look quite a bit different by the end of the week. Or, it could just be even more muddled. 

The series could be a huge opportunity for the Cardinals, who are currently playing some of their better ball season, while the Pirates are fading fast, trying to somehow rediscover the earlier form that saw them rocket up the standings, bringing hope of both a winning season and playoff baseball to a city that hasn't seen either in 20 years. 

Almost seems like a shame to have to break an entire city's collective heart, doesn't it? 

After the weekend's events, the Cards sit this morning two full games ahead of the Pirates for the second Wild Card spot in the National League. (They're also 1.5 games up on the Dodgers, but I'm concerned with Pittsburgh at the moment.) The two clubs are also moving in opposite directions at the moment; the Pirates are just 9-15 in the month of August and have a negative run differential to boot. They have a losing record (20-22), overall since the All-Star break as well. In short, things just aren't going all that well right now in Pittsburgh. 

The Redbirds, on the other hand, are hot right now. They've gone just 6-4 in their last 10 games (including a very, very frustrating series against the Pirates here in St. Louis), but are 15-9 in August. The bullpen has been better of late, the offense is mostly clicking, and Adam Wainwright is rounding into his best form of the season. Things are looking up for the Cardinals.

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