Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ortiz: Birds Need to Reward Fans at Busch

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ortiz: Birds Need to Reward Fans at Busch

Article excerpt

It's time for the Cardinals to give Busch Stadium fans their money's worth.

The Cardinals are back in St. Louis, which traditionally would be a good thing for the 11-time World Series champions. For some reason, though, home cooking isn't sitting well this year with Mike Matheny's crew.

You can debate the makeup of the team, wonder if these sluggers are better suited for smaller parks on the road. This much is clear, though: The Cardinals need to get their act together at home this week to maintain control of the second National League wild-card spot.

As the Mets prepare to start a three-game series against the Cardinals on Tuesday night at Busch, it's important to note that a strong six-game home stand this week could propel the Cardinals to the top of the wild-card standings.

There's plenty of baseball left 39 games to be exact but it's always better to look down than up in the standings. The Cardinals might actually still be in the NL Central race if they weren't so bad at home this year.

The Cardinals are a disappointing 28-33 at home, 38-24 on the road and 66-57 overall. They are the only winning team in baseball with a losing home record. Heck, only eight other teams in the majors have losing home records heading into Monday's games.

The Cardinals, who are 12 1/2 games behind the Cubs and essentially out of the NL Central race, wouldn't be in control of the second and final NL wild-card spot if not for the best road record in baseball.

They are 14 games above .500 on the road, which is quite impressive considering they were only 11 games over .500 on the road last year when they won 100 games.

The Nationals, who lead the NL East with a 73-50 record and 37- 27 mark on the road, are the only other team in the majors at least 10 games over .500 away from home.

The next best winning road record in baseball belongs to the Cubs, who are 33-26 away from Wrigley Field and a major-league best 78-45 overall. …

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