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The Cardinals’ Time is Now or Never

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In baseball, the All Star break is a time for teams to reevaluate themselves. With less than a month until the trade deadline, teams have to decide if they are contenders or pretenders and whether to buy or sell. The Cardinals are obviously contenders and how much they buy really depends on how cheap the market is.

General Manager John Mozeliak will most likely not be willing to part ways with some of his big time prospects for a rental player. The Cardinals might be interested in trading for another bullpen arm given the struggles of former closer Trevor Rosenthal who was removed from duties earlier this week. The Mariners have two big bullpen arms in Steve Cishek and Joaquin Benoit but they are 2 games out of a wildcard spot and might decided to roll the dice on a playoff run. Other cheap options include Jake McGee of the Colorado Rockies and Jason Grilli of the Atlanta Braves.

But before the Cardinals can decide whether or not 2016 is the season to acquire another player for their postseason run, they have to start playing good baseball. The Cardinals have the forth worst home record in the MLB with a 15-22 record. They are also 11 games behind the first place Chicago Cubs. While the two teams have 9 games against each other left in the season, they have to look realistically at the Wild Card which they are only a half game behind the Miami Marlins.

The Cardinals need to capitalize on their easy schedule and go into the All-Star break feeling confident about themselves heading into the latter part of the season. They have a 3 game series against the Milwaukee Brewers at home followed by a 4 game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at home. They then finish up the stretch playing 3 games in Milwaukee.

The Cardinals need to continue to capitalize against the struggling Brewers. The have already taken 4 out of 6 games from them and need to continue that success going if they wish to stay afloat. The Cardinals also need to continue to play well against their division rival Pirates. With a Sweep, they will be able to separate themselves from Pittsburgh by at least 6 games (hopefully) and the Pirates will have to seriously think about becoming sellers at the deadline. With the Pirates out of the race, the Cardinals will be the Cubs only potential threat for the division title.

This Cardinals also have the opportunity to make up ground on the Cubs during this stretch. The Cubs go to New York for a tough series against the Mets. The New York bats are coming alive along with their dominate pitching, making them a tough team to beat. The Cubs then come home to play the struggling Cincinnati Reds but then go out to Pittsburgh for a 3 game series. If the Cardinals can cut the Cubs lead down to 7, they have a very good opportunity to make up ground after the break for the Cubs have the hardest part of their schedule. They play the Texas Rangers, New York Mets, and the Chicago White Sox.

If the Cardinals want to make a serious run at the division title, they have to start winning games now. The All-Star break is a telling point in the season and what the Cardinals do around it could give Mozeliak good insight on what to do at the trade deadline.

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