St. Louis Cardinals: Easiest strength of schedule in our favor
The St. Louis Cardinals have the easiest strength of schedule laying ahead of them as they quietly depart the trade deadline which should help Cardinals Nation rebound from disappointment.
The St. Louis Cardinals, as we all know, did nothing at the trade deadline. This, to me, was the ever-famous GIF of Homer Simpson sliding back into the bushes. Why? The Cardinals had been rumored to do something at the deadline over and over again and then they simply slipped back into the bushes and out of view.
St. Louis Cardinals fans are angry. Some are disappointed. Others are just “tired.” But is there a silver lining? There just might be.
Fox Sports Midwest showed a graphic at the start of play on Tuesday night before Carlos Martinez allowed the Brewers to score three runs in the first inning in an effort to raise spirits. This image showed the comparative strength of schedule for the remaining schedules across MLB.
The good news is that the St. Louis Cardinals have the easiest scheduled, based on this metric, for the remainder of the season.
This was the breakdown that FSMW displayed tonight via twitter:
Does that make you feel any better? Well, it honestly should.
The factors that achieved the easiest strength (or greatest weakness) of schedules are the facts that our St. Louis Cardinals are set to face the bottom-dwelling Cincinnati Reds immediately following this Brewers series which is then immediately followed by two games against Kansas City in KC that is then followed by two games against Kansas City in St. Louis.
Looking further down the schedule, the Cardinals will square off against the Braves, Pirates, Padres, and Rays to accelerate the end of August blowing right into another series with the Brew Crew.
See how they have a decent schedule ahead of them?
The downside to the graphic above is that the currently-leading Cubs have the second easiest schedule remaining. They likely don’t need the help and the 0.475-to-0.476 (on 1/1000th of a point) difference which should seem minimal by statistical standards is likely to feel cavernous as October approaches.
Let me be clear about something here: I do not believe the ease of schedule will help the 2017 St. Louis Cardinals find their way into postseason play. True, stranger things have happened and can happen but I don’t believe the schedule alone can pull this team from the depths in which they sit.
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So why should fans take solace in the easy schedule? Quite simply, the easy schedule should allow this team to experiment with items as they plan for the winter. Equally, the ease of schedule should allow the St. Louis Cardinals to play spoilers to other teams in the division even if they don’t go head-to-head.
In other words, the Cardinals will have the flexibility to see what they truly have or do not have and can also win games thanks to the ease of schedule enough to keep pressure on the NL-Central teams who really seem to be invested in the postseason of 2017.
There’s one thing more… In the game of chess (something often compared to baseball), a great player who realizes that he/she has lost will not simply lay down and die. Instead, the great player will extend the game such that he/she can learn the thinking style of the opponent for the impending rematch. This, THIS should be the role the Cardinals play for the remainder of the campaign.
Next: A quiet deadline can still shine
So to Mozeliak and Girsch I say, you may have folded when you realized the table had out-bet you but you better seize the opportunity to count cards such that you can play a strong hand when the temperatures fall.