While the world (myself included) focuses on the Rays and their pursuit of the Red Sox, the Cardinals and Giants have made things very interesting in the National League. The Braves, much like the Red Sox have struggled to win in September. Since September 1st, Atlanta has gone 7-11, and their road doesn’t get much easier with only the last three games of the season (against the Phillies no less) at home. That leaves six straight road games though. So let’s look at both the Cardinals’ and Giants’ roads the rest of the way.
The Cardinals have 10 games left and sit 3.5 back of the Braves. Six of those games are at home, and all but tonight’s game against the Phillies are against sub-.500 teams.
With Chris Carpenter pitching like his former Cy Young self, Albert Pujols being Albert Pujols, and a top flight offense like the Cardinals have, the Braves may need to start panicking.
All but dead a couple weeks ago, the Giants have resurrected themselves. All the sudden, the Giants find themselves just four back of the Braves. Most of the momentum is coming from the Kung-Fu Panda himself, Pablo Sandoval. After an up and down season, Sandoval is mashing the ball and even got himself a cycle at the end of last week. The Giants have a tough hill to climb though. Six of their last nine games are on the road, with three of those games at Chase Field against the Diamondbacks.
The Giants will need to rely on their pitching like they did in 2010. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgardner will have to carry this team if they want to return to the postseason.
The last 10 games of the season should be terrific baseball. With multiple races, each game feels like October already.