<![CDATA[All season long, the St. Louis Cardinals have controlled the National League Central division by being the team with the best record in Major League Baseball. However, they are facing some stiff competition as of late from the Pittsburgh Pirates. But can the pirates prove baseball betting experts wrong and catch the Cardinals for that first place position?
Pittsburgh Pirates Catching Up
The Pittsburgh Pirates looked like a guarantee to be a part of the Major League Baseball wild card round not too long ago, until their strong play vaulted them back into contention in the National League Central. With the winners of each division avoiding the wild card round and going straight into the division series round, that is a very big deal.
Currently, Pittsburgh sits just four games back of the Cardinals in the division, and have won six of their last ten games. They’ve done that with their offense, as they’ve scored a division leading 620 runs on the year. Each of Pittsburgh’s last eight wins have seen them score at least five runs. Of course, that means that their pitching staff will need to be better in the postseason, when teams with great pitching may limit their offensive output, but if the runs keep coming, that’s all that matters.
St. Louis Cardinals Struggling
Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals have gone backwards slightly since being ahead of the rest of the league from the beginning of the season. They have only won four of their last ten games, and will have to fend off the Pirates and Chicago Cubs to secure the division title as the Major League Baseball regular season winds down.
Even though they’ve won three straight games, the Cardinals’ offense is sputtering as of late. Before those three consecutive wins, they failed to score more than two runs in five of the previous seven contests, which won’t cut it against the elite pitching staffs of the Mets and Dodgers in the playoffs. While Jason Heyward and Matt Holliday are strong at the plate for them, the rest of the Cardinals’ lineup leaves quite a bit to be desired.
At the end of the day, it’s likely that the St. Louis Cardinals will finish the job and win the National League Central, avoiding the one game wild card playoff round in the process. But their recent offensive form suggests that the fact that they have the best record in baseball to this point in the year means very little and that they may not have the firepower to reach the World Series.
Meanwhile, the Pirates will be in for a challenge should they fail to overtake St. Louis, as they would face a one game playoff against their division rivals in the Chicago Cubs. While that game would take place in Pittsburgh, it would be difficult to go into a one game elimination scenario against a team they have played so often that they know everything about one another. Throw in the fact that Chicago can throw Jake Arrieta at them in the one game playoff, and Pittsburgh may regret not catching the Cardinals.
By: Jason M. Sanin]]>