The Cardinals await an opponent in the playoffs

This time last year, the St. Louis Cardinals had no chance to exhale and things worked out pretty well.

Still, they did not want to go through that tension again.

Instead of hustling off somewhere for an elimination game, the NL Central champion Cardinals earned a day off Monday.

There's time to savor a six-game winning streak that gave them a league-leading 97 wins and home-field advantage for the first two rounds of the postseason.

Ace Adam Wainwright starts the division series opener Thursday and the 19-game winner is on track to make two starts if needed.

After working out Tuesday, they'll watch the Pirates and Reds play their aces in the wild card game.