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QUESTION: Will the Cardinals make the playoffs?

HOCHMAN: I think so. Even though the Mets just endured a debacle against Atlanta, I think the Mets will make it in. They just have such an easy schedule, that it'll surely fall into their favor. The Giants just have so many issues. And now their stud fielding shortstop Brandon Crawford has a finger injury. And will Cueto be back from the injury he suffered the other night? Their bullpen is unreliable. And the Giants have three games against the Rockies, who Cardinals fans know can mash ... and four against the Padres, who swept San Francisco earlier this month ... and three against the Dodgers, amid all the Vin Scully excitement. The Dodgers are also extremely good at playing baseball.

So, yeah, I see it Cards and Mets, Oct. 5, reviving the playoff battle 2006, or 2000, or the old NL East battles from the mid-1980s. The Mets are Pond Scum, they used to say.

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