The Cardinals welcomed the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants to town this weekend, and took 2 out of 3 in a pivotal series. After hovering consistently around .500 for the duration of the season, this could be the spark that puts St. Louis on the road to the playoffs.
Standing at 30-27 after last night’s 6-3 victory over Jake Peavy and the Giants, the Cards head to Cincinnati looking to move to 4 games above .500 for the first time in 2016. Despite still being quite far behind in the chase for the NL Central, success against a team like San Fran could give the Cards the momentum needed to break out of the rut they’ve been in and back into the race.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 6, 2016
With the Pirates faltering over the weekend and the Cubs looking a bit more vulnerable, St. Louis rallied to grab the final two games of the series against offseason acquisition Jeff Samardzija and veteran righty Jake Peavy. Heading into Friday night, this series loomed as a possible sinking point for the Cardinals’ season. Injuries and ineffectiveness has kept them from playing their best baseball, but they have kept finding ways to stay afloat, and their play against the Giants showed just that.
A gusty win coming behind from a 4-1 late-inning deficit coupled with a stellar performance from the bullpen on Saturday set the stage for Carlos Martinez to take the rubber match in front of a national television audience. Despite not having his best stuff, he battled through it, and turned it over to the pen, who yet again held the Giants in check in order for the Cardinals to pull off a second consecutive comeback victory.
Wins like these show the meddle in a ball club, and while you can knock Mike Matheny all you want for his in-game managerial decisions, he deserves some credit for nights like these where he keeps his team up and puts them in position to win games. These are characteristics of winning teams, and while the Cards haven’t always resembled one, they continue to show signs that they can be one.
Now, going into a series against a Cincinnati Reds team that has been the doormat of the NL Central, it’s essential for there not to be a loss of focus and a letdown. Despite the lower level of play and the inevitably sparse crowd that will attend the weekday games in Ohio, these guys need to keep grinding. They had better take care of business, because the team from Chicago has all week to beat up on the Phillies and Braves. If the Cards aren’t careful, this promising weekend could end up being just that — promising — and nothing more.
Photo Captured by Jeff Curry – USA TODAY Sports