There sure have been a lot of ups and downs in the St. Louis professional sports market over the past two weeks.
If you’ve been following both the Cardinals and the Blues, it’s been a virtual roller-coaster ride of highs and lows.
The Blues have been locked in a hotly contested playoff battle with the Dallas Stars set to go into Game 7 Tuesday night at the Enterprise Center. The contest occurred after The Missourian deadline.
A 4-1 Game 6 victory for the Blues Sunday in Dallas ensured the series would come back to St. Louis for its conclusion. However, fans of both teams still had to deal with a downer that day as the Cardinals suffered a 13-5 loss to the rival Chicago Cubs, completing a three-game sweep and knocking the Cardinals out of the National League Central lead by half a game.
During the past two weeks, both teams have only won on the same day once — April 29 when the Blue picked up a 4-3 Game 3 Win at Dallas and the Cardinals won 6-3 at the Washington Nationals.
The Cardinals came into the weekend having won three series in a row, but then dove into a four-game losing streak from Thursday through Sunday.
A hot streak came at the right time for the Cardinals, who moved into the best record in the National League prior to the weekend series with the Cubs.
Following that series, the Cardinals were tied with Arizona at 20-14 for the third-best record in the National League.
To make matters worse, the Cubs ended that series having won seven games in a row and they’re spending the early part of this week hosting the team with the worst record in the big leagues — the Miami Marlins.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals are facing a tough challenge in a three-game home series against a remodeled Philadelphia Phillies team that is now led by prized free-agent signing Bryce Harper.
There is still a lot of baseball to be played this season though to get back at the Cubs and continue challenging for a division title.
There is not a lot of season left for the Blues, who even with a win Tuesday would only have a maximum of two more series to play — the Western Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals. A win for the Stars would bring hockey season in St. Louis to an end until October.
I’ve never really followed hockey all that closely, though since coming to Washington I have paid more attention to both that sport and to soccer than I had before, having grown up in an area of the state where neither sport is played prevalently.
However, I’ve always paid attention to where the Blues stood at this time of year. A lot of times that’s because if you go to a Cardinals game in April or May and the Blues are playing at the same time, you’ll see playoff updates played on the big screen at Busch Stadium between innings.
The two teams have a great camaraderie. In the past few seasons, that has been shown with Matt Carpenter sharing his infamous mojo salsa with the Blues locker room for luck and Cardinals stalwarts Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina making frequent appearances at Blues games just a few blocks from Busch Stadium.
So, I’m well aware that the past few decades have seen numerous talented Blues’ teams cut down in the early rounds of the playoffs, before their perceived time to go was up.
A conference championship and a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals have eluded one of the NHL’s most consistent playoff qualifiers for too long.
Tuesday can hopefully be the next step in bringing that elusiveness to an end.