With the Cardinals battling the Pirates for the NL Central crown and just 11 days left in the season, its getting to be crunch time. The Cards have a 2.5 game lead on the Buccos, with 10 games remaining. The Pirates have 11 games left.
Here's how their schedules break down:
9/18: vs. Brewers (79-73)
9/19 - 9/21: vs. Reds (71-82)
9/22 - 9/24: @ Cubs (68-84)
9/25: off day
9/26 - 9/28: @ Diamondbacks (62-90)
9/18: vs. Red Sox (66-86)
9/19 - 9/21: vs. Brewers (79-73)
9/22 - 9/25: @ Braves (76-76)
9/26 - 9/28: @ Reds (71-82)
The Cardinals opponents have a combined weighted-average winning percentage of .440 vs the Pirates' opponents weighted average winning percentage of .490, a clear advantage for the Cards.
In addition, both teams play the same number of home games (4) while the
Pirates have one more away game than the Cards (and one more game
overall), which might be a slight disadvantage for them.
Finally, considering that the Brewers and Braves are both fighting for a playoff spot, one can assume they will give the Pirates a tougher test than the Cubs and Diamondbacks for the Cardinals. However, there might be more pressure on the Brewers and Braves, which may make them not play as well, while the Cubs and Diamondbacks have nothing to lose, so who knows who has the advantage here.
Overall, the schedule favors the Cardinals. However, the Pirates have been hot lately, winning 11 of their last 12 games. So, although I think the Cards will win the division, they still have to take care of business and win the games they are suppose to win.