Almost a full week into August, we are entering perhaps the most exciting stretch of baseball: the dog days of the summer followed by the hunt for October. All the Cardinals have done this season is tease us with stretches of brilliance followed by absolute mediocrity. So, here are my bold predictions for the rest of the way.

Luke Weaver will be called up before Alex Reyes.

All eyes right now are on Alex Reyes and deservedly so. Reyes has all the talent in the world and should one day be the ace of this Cardinals’ rotation. However, he’s simply not ready yet. Once the rosters expand in September, I predict that they will call up Luke Weaver before they call up Reyes. All Weaver has done this season is produce the best numbers of any pitcher in the entire organization, regardless of level. In 77 innings at Double-A Springfield, he had a 1.40 ERA with a 0.95 WHIP. Recently, he was called up to AAA Memphis, so we’ll have to monitor his progress, as he adjusts to a new level of hitters. One thing is for sure though, John Mozeliak definitely has his eyes on Weaver. In a recent radio interview, Mozeliak was quoted saying “I’m not ruling out bringing up Luke Weaver to St. Louis depending on his success and our needs here.” Perhaps, some foreshadowing.

 

This Cardinals offense will carry this team into the playoffs.

You’ve seen the stats: Third in the league with 543 runs scored as a team. Third with 951 hits. Third with 151 home runs. Third with a .447 slugging percentage and a .776 OPS. It absolutely confuses the heck out of any Cardinal fan why this team is 57-51 and 2nd in their division behind a Cubs team who looked absolutely mediocre these last two months. We’re long past the point in the season where the statistics may be a fluke. This Cardinals offense is for real. Now, they must carry the team to wins and, more importantly, carry this team into the postseason. My prediction? They will. Expect to see a lot of high scoring affairs. This team will eventually realize that the pitching isn’t as reliable as in 2015. The offense can shoulder the load.

The Cardinals clinch by 9/28 against Cincinnati.

That’s right. I’m predicting this. Forget the last day of the season drama that Rob Manfred and the MLB front office yearns to see. I predict the Cardinals clinch at least a NL Wild Card spot with 4+ games remaining. Here is the schedule the rest of the way: the Cardinals have 17 series left in the season and only 8 are against teams who are currently either at or above .500. It is definitely a manageable load the rest of the way. More importantly, 9 of those series are on the road, which apparently is a good thing for the 2016 Cardinals (32-21 on the road and 25-30 at Busch Stadium). If the Cardinals’ don’t make the playoffs with this offense and this easy of a schedule in August and September, then we’ve got bigger issues. But, I truly believe they can do it. And so should you.

The good thing about this 2016 team is how surprising they can be. For all we know, all of my bold predictions could come true; or, vice versa, I could look like a fool. But, that is the magic of the hunt for October. It should be fun.