St. Louis Cardinals Begin 12 Game Stretch Against American League

Ben WeixlmannSenior Writer IJune 17, 2008

Luckily for the St. Louis Cardinals, they will be starting and ending a brutal 12-game stretch against the Kansas City Royals. The problem lies within, as the Cards must also face one of the best teams in baseball in the Boston Red Sox, as well as the streaky Detroit Tigers.

The I-70 series between Cardinals and Royals is also a good one, although their records may suggest it will be a Cardinal sweep.

Starting pitcher Joel Pineiro takes the bump tonight for the opener of a three game set at Busch Stadium. Pineiro is making his second appearance since coming back from a rehab assignment. It should be interesting to see how he works against the mediocre Royals lineup.

Opposing him is righty Kyle Davies, who is 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA, but has been slightly erratic as of late. He walked five in his most recent outing against the Texas Rangers.

The Cardinals must hope that role players set up and fill the huge gaps that have been created with the injuries to top slugger Albert Pujols, as well as ace Adam Wainwright, and cannon-armed catcher Yadier Molina.

It is crucial for the Redbirds to win at least four of the six contests against the awful Royals ballclub, considering their other two opponents.

Although the Tigers haven't compiled a good season at all, they have been a team of streaks. It is also already pretty clear how good the Red Sox are.

If the Cardinals are to stay in a divisional race with the MLB's best-record holding Chicago Cubs, their journey must start with a win Tuesday night at Busch Stadium in front of the home crowd.

If not, it could be a long trip for the Cardinals, especially with all the stars sitting in the dugout.