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The St. Louis Cardinals will most likely lock up the final playoff spot, giving them a chance to repeat last year's remarkable title run. This team has been so up and down all season that they are truly hard to read.
They are built to take a one-game playoff, and if they get in and are matched up against the Braves, St. Louis will come out the victor.
The offense has the potential to explode at any moment during any game. They have the ability to place five players with batting averages of .297 or greater and with over 400 at-bats in the batting order at the same time. They also boost five players with 20 or more home runs.
The funny thing about them, though, is that they can go as cold as a winter's day in the Arctic Circle against the right pitcher.
It is the Cardinals' pitching staff that has been the team's biggest concern this year. The Cardinals have maintained a great offense for years, but they also backed it up with pitching that ranked in the top three. This year's club maintains a 3.78 ERA, sixth in the NL. Not bad by any means, but this leaves room for inconsistency.
Other than Kyle Lohse, the rest of the starting staff can't figure out if they are 3.50 ERA pitchers or 4.50 ERA pitchers and all hover at the 4.00 mark. The bullpen can go either direction as well.
Reds' Record vs. St. Louis: 6-6
These two teams are very evenly matched overall, and I only slightly give the Reds the overall edge. During the playoffs, it is pitching and power pitching that seems to dominate. The Reds have the advantage by far in this aspect.
If the Reds get the chance to play the Cards in the postseason, don't be surprised if the series goes five games with Cincy nailing down Game 5.