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By Stephen Nations

A cushy schedule could give Cards a push in the right direction.

2014 hasn't quite gotten off to the start that Cardinal Nation had wanted, hoped, or expected.

The defending National League Champions currently sit sub-.500, at 18-19. The offense is in the bottom tier of the game, posting numbers that are comparable to those of the Astros, Royals, Diamondbacks, and Phillies. This team isn't even averaging four puns per game. The complete lack of power from anyone but Jhonny Peralta is almost mind-numbing, and even though the best hitter in the minor leagues happens to play for Memphis, the organization seems hell-bent on keeping him there until his Super Two date has passed in early June. If not for an excellent showing from the pitching staff this season, the Cards could very well be battling the Cubs for the cellar dweller position in the NL Central.

But wait! Don't fret. The turnaround is coming.

The Cardinals play 19 of their next 22 games at home, where they are two games above .500, versus three games below on the road. They'll get tough matchups against the Giants and Braves, but the Yankees, Reds, Diamondbacks, Cubs, and Royals will all provide the Cardinals with an opportunity to gain some ground on the division leading Milwaukee Brewers for the next three weeks or so.

After today's finale in Pittsburgh concludes, next up for the Cardinals will be the Chicago Cubs. The Cards will look to bounce back from a tough 3-game set versus the Cubs last weekend in which they lost two of three at Wrigley.

Stephen Nations is an aspiring sports and Cardinals columnist. He will be contributing his commentary to KSDK.com during the 2014 season. You can follow him on twitter at

@Nayshface.

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