The St. Louis Cardinals may be hobbling their way through a treacherous 10-game road trip right now, but the rest of the season looks quite favorable for them.
With 30 games remaining as of Sept. 1, only 12 will be against teams above the .500 mark.
There will be five games in September against the Washington Nationals, a team with a healthy lead in their division, but still very much in need of continuing their winning ways. They have the best record in baseball for a reason.
In the middle of the month, the Cardinals visit the Los Angeles Dodgers for a four-game series that could have a lasting effect as well. As of Thursday, Aug. 30, the Dodgers sit one game behind the Cardinals for the second wild-card berth.
With both teams in the thick of a playoff race, that series could have lasting connotations for how the remainder of the season plays out.
The Cardinals' last series against an above-.500 team will be another big one. They close out the season with three games against the Cincinnati Reds.
If the Cardinals can move in closer in the standings, it could offer them a huge opportunity to close a gap they have struggled to tighten all season long.
On the other hand, if they don't win against the Reds, it could be good news for other teams close by in the wild-card hunt.
Will the Cardinals make the playoffs in 2012?
The Cardinals have 18 games remaining against sub-.500 teams and must seize that opportunity to put some ground between themselves and the competition.
There's no reason the Cardinals shouldn't be able to win at least 12 of those games, and frankly, they should do better than that. With that said, anything can happen in a playoff race.
October is never a guarantee. All you have to do is make the cut. Once you make the cut, anything can happen as Cardinals fans should remember well from 2011.