NL Central: Cardinals in Or Out?

Jordan HofeditzAnalyst IJuly 28, 2008

The St. Louis Cardinals have had their share of problems this season. A pitching staff that has been riddled with injuries looked like it was going to keep them out of contention going into the season.

But that hasn't happened. Even though most people are asking whether or not the Cubs or Brewers will win the NL Central the Cardinals are only four games back and could be getting one of the best pitchers in baseball back on Wednesday, Chris Carpenter.

Rich Harden has looked nothing short of great in his first three starts for Chicago, but does not have a win to show for it. CC Sabathia on the other hand has gone out and won four straight games and seven of his last eight decisions dating back to before the trade.

But if Carpenter can come back and be the Cy Young winner he is the Cardinals are certainly a team to look out for.

The only thing that stands out as a major worry for Cards fans is that they have not fared well against their NL Central opponents. St. Louis is just 25-24 against central opponents and were swept in a four-game series by the Bewers coming out of the All-Star Break.

The Cubs are struggling as well out of the break, and the Brewers wont be able to keep this surge going throughout the second half of the season. Look for it to be a three team race going into the playoffs with the winner getting the Central crown and the runner-up finding themselves in the Wild Card.

And don't be surprised if either one of those is the Cardinals.