The Cards gave it a decent go today, but came-up short against the Reds and Volquez, who has been one of the top five pitchers in the National League this season. The Bullpen had their first poor game of the road trip after a decent start by Lohse, but the real problem was that the offense couldn't get anything going until the 9th inning in one of the best offensive ballparks in baseball. Overall, you'd have to take 6-4 on the 10 game road trip, though you'd certainly like to have that first game against the Cubs back. A seven game home stand is next up. Even better, the Cards have 4 off days during the stand, the first being tomorrow. This may allow them to go with a 4 man rotation for the short-term. Even though Wainwright was dominant in his rehab start yesterday, he may still come back as a reliever due to that fact IF Carpenter can be back by the time the team next takes to the road, they may not need another starter. Regardless, it's important to make some hay on this home stand. We face two real bad teams in the Pirates and Braves and our biggest rival for the wildcard in the Brewers. If we can say, win 6 of 7 and then bring Carp and Wainwright back for the stretch, that would be awesome. It sounds like Wainwright wants to come back this week, but I think the schedule allows for a little extra caution. It really all depends on Carpenter's status though. Looper, Wellenmeyer, Pineiro, and Lohse all seem to be pitching decent at the same time for the first time since maybe April, but they need that true ace to support them. It remains to be seen who that will be (if anyone). I've pretty much given-up hope of catching the Cubs. Too much ground to make-up and they are just playing too well, but the Brewers are another matter. They faded badly in September last year, and they have even more pressure on them now. Yeah, Sabathia has been other-worldly, but Sheets has not been as good since the All-Star break and their line-up is prone to slump because they aren't high on-base guys and rely on the long ball. The next 10 days could tell us a lot for both the Cards and the Brew Crew.