It's not going to get any easier, Reds Country. In fact, the challenge is going to be significantly more difficult as the Redlegs look to rebound after inexplicably being swept at home during a four-game set with the dreadful Pittsburgh Pirates.
As a result, the Cincinnati Reds (56-86), losers of six in a row, sit just 1.5 games out of the cellar in the National League Central. On the opposite end of the division spectrum are the St. Louis Cardinals (84-59) who are pulling away in the NL Central and are nearing their second division crown in the last four seasons.
Since the All-Star break, the Redbirds are a scorching 35-14 and have turned a one-game deficit at the Midsummer Classic into a comfortable eight-game cushion as we enter the middle of September. A key component to their second-half surge has been an explosive offense.
The Reds play 5 games in 4 days vs. a dangerous Cardinals team.
Entering play yesterday, the Cardinals' 116 team OPS+ ranked No. 1 among all senior clubs. Additionally, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt is a strong candidate to capture his first MVP award. The seven-time All-Star has belted 35 homers with 109 RBIs as play began Wednesday. He also leads the NL in OBP, slugging, OPS, OPS +, and total bases.
However, Goldy is not the only one inflicting damage at the plate. Third baseman Nolan Arenado is slashing .298/.360/.553 with 29 dingers and 96 ribbies. In addition, 42-year-old, Albert Pujols seems to have located a fountain of youth. The future Hall of Famer has launched 18 round-trippers in 259 at-bats and is just three homers away from becoming the fourth player to cross the 700 home run threshold.
Cincinnati has dropped nine of the 14 contests between the two clubs this season, including four of five at Busch Stadium. One St. Louis win this weekend will clinch their 10th season series victory over the Reds in their last 11 attempts.