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Wild Cards Surge Into Contention

The+St.+Louis+Cardinals%E2%80%99+Paul+Delong+%2812%29+celebrates+with+teammates+after+hitting+a+two-run+home+run+against+the+Los+Angeles+Dodgers+in+the+ninth+inning+on+Wednesday%2C+Aug.+22%2C+2018%2C+at+Dodger+Stadium+in+Los+Angeles.+The+Cardinals+won%2C+3-1.+%28Luis+Sinco%2FLos+Angeles+Times%2FTNS%29
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Wild Cards Surge Into Contention

The St. Louis Cardinals’ Paul Delong (12) celebrates with teammates after hitting a two-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the ninth inning on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The Cardinals won, 3-1. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

The St. Louis Cardinals’ Paul Delong (12) celebrates with teammates after hitting a two-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the ninth inning on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The Cardinals won, 3-1. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

The St. Louis Cardinals’ Paul Delong (12) celebrates with teammates after hitting a two-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the ninth inning on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The Cardinals won, 3-1. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

The St. Louis Cardinals’ Paul Delong (12) celebrates with teammates after hitting a two-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the ninth inning on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The Cardinals won, 3-1. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Patrick McColl, Staff Writer

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Since the MLB All Star Break, the St. Louis Cardinals have been one of the best teams in the league, with a 39-24 record. Their record in August was the best in the league at 22-6. That hot streak has jolted the Cardinals into the Playoff picture.

During the Cardinals surge, there were plenty of players that stepped up. But one in particular, Matt Carpenter, has had one of the bigger turnarounds in MLB history. On May 15, Matt Carpenter was only hitting a measly .140, and had a .286 OBP. As of September 25, Carpenter now hits .261, has a .377 OBP, and has slugged a National League leading 36 home runs to go along with 80 RBI’s. Coming out of May, Carpenter only had a total of 7 home runs. All this success may make you think that their something else going on, right? Yes, Carpenter is taking something, but it’s not a performance enhancing drug or PED.

Instead, his homemade salsa has seemed to kick things off for Carpenter. It started with a series in Chicago in mid July when Carpenter hit 3 home runs in one game. Carpenter ate his salsa that day, so he figured why not eat it again. The next day he did well again, so he continued to eat the salsa as he continued to climb. Now, it has become a phenomenon around the clubhouse, and a lot of other Cardinals players are getting into it.

“Everyone is literally eating every bit of salsa that you can eat, I have it on every meal” Greg Garcia said, backup infielder for the Cardinals, in an interview with Fox Sports Midwest. With all of the craze in the salsa, Schnucks has started to sell Carpenter’s salsa, but it has sold out fast, being one of the most popular items on the shelf.

Players have a direct impact on success of the team with their play on the field, however manager Mike Shildt has had very good success with the team. After the firing of Mike Matheny, then interim manager Mike Shildt took over a mediocre team on July 14. Since then, he has lead the Cardinals into the playoff picture, a 40-24 record, and has been recognized for his better management of pitchers and connection with the players. In a recent postgame interview on Fox Sports Midwest, Shildt praised the Cardinals after a 7-3 series finale loss against the Atlanta Braves.

“I love this club. This club scratches, claws, competes” said Shildt. That certainly seemed to be the case in that series, as the Cardinals were able to come back multiple times to win the first game of three on Monday, followed by a blowout win on Tuesday.

Many have heard of the Cardinals uprising around the school, including Michael Feit, a Special Ed teacher and Chicago Cub fan here at the school.

“I think the Cardinals are the scariest team in the National League right now, regardless of Wildcard or Division Champ” Feit said. Certainly, high praise from a Cubs fan.

Coming into the final stretch with a tight wild card race, the Cardinals are going to need to turn it up and continue to play great baseball in order to reach the postseason this year.

As of Tuesday, September 25, the Cardinals are in second place for the Wild Card and 3 games behind the Brewers for first place. The Cardinals remaining schedule features 2 more games against the Milwaukee Brewers, and after that they will travel to the north side of Chicago to play the division rival Chicago Cubs. If the playoffs started today, the Cardinals would have to travel to Milwaukee to take on the Brewers in the National League Wild Card Game. If they were to win that game, they would advance on to the National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs.

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Wild Cards Surge Into Contention