Let's take an honest look at the Cardinals season so far.
The Cardinals started off hot as they usually do. The Cardinals were 17-7 to start the season and were 4 games up on the second place Cincinnati Reds after the games on May 1st.
From May 2nd until July 26th, the Cardinals were a mediocre 36-41, and finished the day 53-48, a half game back of the NL Central leading Chicago Cubs.
But from July 27th until today, August 16th, the Cardinals have been on a tear, winning all six of their series and going 14-4 during that span, including sweeps of the Pirates and Padres and winning 3 out of 4 at home against the Dodgers.
The Cardinals are now 67-52, 5 full games over the Chicago Cubs (whose game against the Pirates was rained out today). The only upside for the Cubs is that they hold a record of 60-55 and are only 3 games out in the loss collumn, which just so happens to be the same number of games that they have left against the Cardinals. The Cubs are definitely not out of this race, and the Cardinals need to continue this pace to assure itself of a NL Central crown.
Since the Cardinals have been on this tear, the other teams in the race, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Houston Astros, are now distant memories. After July 26th, only 3 games separated the top four teams in the NL Central race. After today, the Cubs are 5 games behind the Cardinals, the Brewers are 8 games back and the Astros 9.5 games back.
Not only have the Cardinals put distance between themselves and their NL Central foes, the Cardinals are on the brink of catching the National league's best teams. The Cardinals are now only 3.5 games behind the league leading LA Dodgers (70-48) and depending on what the Phillies do tonight, the Cardinals could be tied in games behind with the Phillies, but the Phillies would still have a better winning percentage.
The Cardinals have an opportunity to catch up with the Dodgers even more this week as they travel to Los Angeles for a three game series at Dodger Stadium. The Cardinals then travel to San Diego for a four game series against the Padres.
The Cardinals have put themselves in a good position to make the playoffs, and if they keep up their winning ways, maybe even home field advantage. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.