The NL Central Division leading St. Louis Cardinals (64-52) host the NL West's last place team, the San Diego Padres (49-68) this weekend for a three-game set. Don't let the records fool you, however. This could be a land mine for the Cardinals. The Padres, although they have a bad record, are 15-14 against the NL Central, and are 11-5 since July 27th.
The Cardinals will need to be on top of their game to make sure they can get the series win. The Cardinals will throw out Adam Wainwright, Joel Pineiro and Kyle Lohse, all coming off wins in their last starts. They will be facing three young pitchers in Mat Latos, Tim Stauffer, and Clayton Richard, two of whom (Latos and Richard) won games against the Mets and Brewers in their last starts, and Stauffer was a hard luck loser against Johan Santana and the Mets in his last start. Stauffer is a former first round draft pick for the Padres, so all three starters will attempt to get wins for the Padres and this will not be a series in which the Padres will lie down.
The Chicago Cubs will face the Pittsburgh Pirates this weekend, so the Cubs will be looking to gain ground on the Cardinals in the NL Central race. This weekend will be yet another interesting weekend in the race, and should shed further light on where the NL Central is going the rest of the way.