This weekend, The St. Louis Cardinals are coming to town for a weekend 3-game series against the Chicago Cubs and right about now would be a great time for the Cubs to try and put the final nail in the coffin of the 2008 Cardinals. It's only the second weekend in August, but if the Cubs can sweep the Cardinals, that would put them 9 games behind the Cubs for the division lead with42 games to play. Not exactly a death knoll, but definitely a hefty hole to climb out of.
In the 21 games since the All-Star break, the Cardinals are sitting at 11-10, which is the reason why the have fallen so far behind the Cubs. At one point after the break, they were a mere two games behind the Cubs, but a 4 game sweep at the hand of the Milwaukee Brewers prevented them from getting any closer to the Cubs and after failing to pickup another starter at the trade deadline, or really any help at all, the hopes for the Cardinals season rest on the now twice surgically repaired elbow of former ace Cris Carpenter. In fact, since coming to the Cardinals as a FA agent after his first elbow surgery, Carpenter hasn't resembled the pitcher who came up through the Toronto Blue Jays system after being a 1st round pick in the 2003 draft. But right now, it's unknown if Carpenter is back at full strength yet as he's only gone 9 innings in the two starts since being activated from the disabled list and has only thrown 118 pitches in those two starts. Carlos Zambrano alone has thrown that many pitches on two occasions himself. Can he help lead the Cardinals to a division title in 2008 or even a wildcard berth? According to Baseball Prospectus, it puts them at a 23% chance. I wouldn't even give them that much.
Speaking of chance at making the playoffs, the Cubs are listed at 96%, second best to the Anaheim Angels. I guess it's time to start printing those playoff tickets.