What a big weekend for the Cardinals (62-51) who are now 2 full games ahead of the Chicago Cubs (58-51) and 6 full games ahead pf both the Milwaukee Brewers (55-56) and the Houston Astros (55-56). While the Cardinals swept the Pirates in Pittsburgh, the Cubs lost 2 out of 3 to a hot Colorado Rockies team in Colorado.
The only negative for the Cardinals is that the Chicago Cubs have the same amount of losses (51). The Cubs simply have played 4 fewer games than the Cardinals and they could theoretically win all 4 games which would put them in a dead heat. The Brwers and Astros being 6 six games back just seem a little too far back to be real contenders in the race for the NL Central crown and now it definitely seems to be a two-team race between the Cardinals and the Cubs.
The big problem for the Cardinals if they want to win this division is the back end of their rotation. Kyle Lohse has not done well since he has returned to the rotation after many injuries, and Todd WEllemeyer has gotten lit up time after time. Amazingly, Wellemeyer after being sent to the bullpen will get another start on Tuesday at home vs. the Cincinnati Reds. If the Cardinals want to win the division, they need to find at least one good starter to get them through to the end of the regular season and give them a solid fourth starter for the playoffs.
My prediction is that the Cardinals will need to go 30-20 in their last 50 games to win the division, which would put them at 91-71. With Carpenter, Wainwright and Pineiro pitching well this is a real possibility, but you can't hope that all three pitchers win all their games from here on out, so either Lohse or Wellemeyer or someone else (Boggs?) is going to have to step it up.