Cardinals battling to the wire with Pirates in NL Central

The St. Louis Cardinals are in the Mile High City taking on the Colorado Rockies in an important four game series with huge playoff implications.

The Cards are tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates with identical records as of the start of play Tuesday night.

St. Louis lost the opening game of the series to Colorado, but Pittsburgh lost as well on Monday to open their series.

St. Louis and Pittsburgh each have records of 87-63. The Pirates are playing the San Diego Padres on the road to start this week.

Just 2½ games behind the Cards and Pirates are the Cincinnati Reds. The most likely scenario is the three teams will fight for the division title and the two wildcard spots.

bSt. Louis has won 8 of its past 12 games and was 7-2 on a recent 9-game home stand.

Colorado is starting a home stand in its series with St. Louis and it will be Todd Helton’s last home stand as the 17-year veteran first baseman is hanging up is cleats at the end of the season.

Helton has played all 17 seasons with Colorado. The Colorado fans, management and owners feel Helton is an icon of Rockies baseball.

Colorado lost two of three against St. Louis at Busch Stadium in St. Louis in mid May and was 2-5 in their head to head games with the Cardinals in 2012.

The Pirates have San Diego on Wednesday and Thursday. Play home against Cincinnati in a huge three-game series this weekend, face the Chicago Cubs for three next week in Chicago to start the week and finish their regular season with three more games at Cincinnati over the weekend of September 27-29.

The Cardinals have the easier schedule as they have two remaining with Colorado, three on the road against Milwaukee and end with six straight at home three with the Washington Nationals and three with the Cubs.

If I were a betting man, I would give the edge in this to St. Louis as they have the easier last 12 games of the schedule. In addition, the Reds and Pirates will play six games head to head and could knock each other out of contention for the NL Central division title.

A possible scenario would have St. Louis winning the Central division crown with Cincinnati playing Pittsburgh in a one game playoff for the wildcard entry against the three division winners.

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