The Cardinals have exceeded our expectations all summer. They gave us hopes of October baseball again, and as we all know from 2006, anything can happen in the playoffs. Lately, however, the Cards stink, and it’s been no fun watching them fall out of the race. Wait. Are they out of the race?
Coming off an abysmal 1-5 road trip, and winning only 3 of their last 10 games, it seems obvious that the Cardinals are not a playoff caliber baseball team. On the other hand, the teams ahead of St. Louis are also playing poorly as of late. The division leading Cubs have lost 5 straight, and the Brewers have dropped their last 3. It seems like the only team that wants it is the surging Houston Astros, who are riding an 8 game winning streak and are now only a game behind the Cardinals.
So with less than a month left in the regular season, let’s take a look at the remaining schedule. The dates and teams (along with their winning percentages) are listed below:
- 5-7 vs. Florida (.507)
- 8 off day
- 9-11 vs. Chicago (.607)
- 12-14 @ Pittsburgh (.424)
- 15 off day
- 16-18 @ Cincinnati (.443)
- 19-21 @ Chicago (.607)
- 22-25 vs. Arizona (.511)
- 26-28 vs. Cincinnati (.443)
So, the Cardinals (.536) have 22 games remaining. They play 13 home games, and 9 on the road. They play 5 teams over 7 series. Of those 7 series, 4 will be played against teams that currently have a winning record. Let’s see how the Cards have fared to this point against their remaining foes:
- vs. Florida 3-1
- vs. Chicago 4-5
- vs. Pittsburgh 7-7
- vs. Cincinnati 6-3
- vs. Arizona 1-2
At first glance, the final month is a tough one, but it’s a schedule that the Cards should easily play over .500. My optimistic guess would be maybe 14-8 the rest of the way, which would mean winning all but one series. Is that feasible? Sure. Is it going to get them into the playoffs? Not likely.
Fourteen more wins would mean a final record of 89-73. The Brewers lead the Wild Card race by 5.5 games over the Cards, and they have 23 games remaining. They’d have to go 8-15 the rest of the way to finish with 88 wins.
I’m a die hard fan, so I’m holding out hope until they’re officially eliminated. But, if we’re really being honest about this situation, the playoffs just aren’t in the Cards.