The Major League baseball season is a marathon and not a sprint. During the last nine games, the Cardinals have looked like a team that has “hit the wall” and needs a second wind.

St. Louis went 1-8 against three of the top four teams in the American League Central. They were swept by the White Sox and Tigers and barely pulled out the final game of the series with the Indians. The eight game losing streak the Cardinals went through was the longest for the team since 1988.

It all started with a 20-6 blowout loss to the White Sox on June 20. Not all the games were as lopsided as that one. Rookie starter Anthony Reyes pitched a one-hitter in game three of the ChiSox series. The only problem was St. Louis didn’t score any runs and the one hit given up was a solo homer by Jim Thome. The Redbirds had several other chances to end the skid. Half of the losses were by three runs or less.

If the Cardinals want to look at the glass as half-full, they can take solace in the fact that they still have the lead in the National League Central. The lead was five when the streak started. It has dwindled a bit, but they still enjoy a one-game lead over the Reds. Cincinnati had a hard time making a major dent in the lead because they were playing the same AL Central teams St. Louis was struggling with. In Interleague play this year, the AL is 25-51 against the NL Central.