I said it the last blog and I’ll say it again. With the Cardinals win over the Cubs, and the Braves loss to the Nationals, the pressure is now squarely on Atlanta. And I said it then, and I stand by this statement in saying the Cardinals WILL take the Wild Card.
Atlanta is now under enormous pressure of being labeled a choker. They had a 10 game lead at one point over the field for the Wild Card. Heck every “expert” said that the Wild Card would come from the N.L. East. This plus the fact that the Braves now have to do it at home vs the team that is probably still the odds on favorite to take the N.L. Pennant in the Philadelphia Phillies. I believe Charlie Manuel to be a good manager, and I don’t for a minute expect he wants to tell his team to turn the switch in the postseason. I think he is going to try and prove to everyone who the top dog in the National League is, and I expect him to run his regular line up out there vs Atlanta these next, and final three games. It’s already obvious by his starting staff with Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels slated to start the final three. The Braves, who have not been playing especially good baseball, now have the distractions of being at home vs a very good team and with the knowledge that they are the hunted now and not the hunter. Again advantage in my opinion-St Louis Cardinals.
Now the Cardinals still must do their part and it starts with Jaime Garcia and his 13-7 record vs Houston’s Wandy Rodriguez 11-11 tonight at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Cardinals have had success this year vs Houston there having won 4 of 6 and 8-4 overall vs the struggling ‘Stros. The Astros are a bad team, make no mistake about it, and the Cardinals better not take them lightly. You know that the Houston Astros would love to spoil the Cardinals postseason party thoughts. A fact that I know every single player that wear the Birds on the Bat, if they don’t know, better know and real quick. But as I said, I think the Cardinals are under no pressure. They are away from home, away from the distractions, couped up in their hotel and hopefully bonding. They should be strong together, and let the Braves deal with the pressure of trying to clinch at home. Here it is folks the last 3 games of 2011 season, it’s clear and simple. Make up one game minimum and then force the Braves to have to come to Busch for a tie break game, or just take the thing w/o that and see the Phillies next week in the playoffs. It can’t be any simpler than that, so with that said I say GO GET ‘EM CARDINALS!