Photo credit: @SFGiants
By Jeremy Harness
The San Francisco Giants are fresh off of taking two of three games from the San Diego Padres, but they have a new challenge on their hands as they head into the weekend.
They will now travel to St. Louis for a three-game series with the Cardinals, a series that starts Friday night at Busch Stadium.
Unlike the Giants, the Cards definitely have something to play for at this time of the year.
St. Louis currently holds an 84-69 record and currently hold the second wild card spot in the National League. If the playoffs started today, the Cards would travel to Milwaukee for a one-game elimination against the Brewers, who they trail by three games.
The National League Central crown is not completely out of the question, but chances become dimmer as the games go by. The division-leading Cubs are 5 1/2 games ahead of the Cardinals and only 2 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Brewers.
However, the Cards’ playoff spot is far from guaranteed. In fact, they only sit a game and a half in front of the Colorado Rockies for the last playoff spot.
For the Cards, the mission to stay in the postseason race continues Friday night against the Giants. Madison Bumgarner (6-6, 3.14 ERA) will take the ball for the Giants on Friday against Cards righty John Gant (7-6, 3.53 ERA).
Gant has won four of his last six decisions, but he got shelled in his last outing. He surrendered six runs on six hits, including a pair of damaging home runs, in only 4 1/3 innings as the Cards were routed by the Dodgers, 17-4.
Giants rookie Dereck Rodriguez (6-4, 2.30 ERA) will go Saturday afternoon against Cards veteran righty Adam Wainwright (2-3, 3.72 ERA).
Giants’ Andrew Suarez (7-11, 4.24 ERA) will hope to start turning things around on Sunday as he takes the mound against Cards righty Miles Mikolas (16-4, 3.01 ERA), who has won five of his last six decisions, including each of his last three.