The NL Central race is perhaps the hottest in the major leagues—and has been all year. With the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds all edging closer to the playoffs, winning the division and avoiding the Wild Card Game is more important than ever. And it's up for grabs!
Mike Matheny's Cardinals have just nine more series left, and three of them are against their aforementioned competition. So which are the most crucial?
I've taken a look at the schedule and picked what I believe to be the three must-win series to finish off 2013 based on the playoff race in addition to talent, location, timing and rivalries.
Read on to find out when you'll be holding your breath!
*All records are from mlb.com and are current as of August 28, 2013*