St. Louis Cardinals: Cardinals losing ground to Cubs in projections

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Manager Mike Matheny
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Manager Mike Matheny /

The St. Louis Cardinals were hoping for an encore celebration of wins the week after Rally Cat. Instead the injury bug caught us and we used more of our nine lives by finishing this past week with a 2-5 record.

With all honesty, this was a tough week to watch St. Louis Cardinals baseball. Maybe it was the expectations that made us hope. Maybe it was our bullpen struggling again. Who knows, but it was a brutal week.

After losing the final game in the series against the Atlanta Braves, the St. Louis Cardinals followed up with two more losses against the Boston Red Sox. In the process, we added injury to insult by blowing the lead in the 9th inning with our best bullpen pitcher of late, Trevor Rosenthal, hurting his arm.

To follow that up, we won the first two games versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. As we all watched, that Friday night game did not come easy, even though it should have been. Then we wind up dropping the final two games to continue the mediocre play against our divisional rivals in 2017.

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When my last projections, using my Predator Power Index (PPI), came out on August 14th, we were hitting on all cylinders.

We were a measly one game behind the Chicago Cubs in the actual standings, and only 1.6 games behind in the PPI Projected final standings.

What a week can do.

Now here we are coming into play on August 22nd, 3.5 games behind the sleeping giant of the Chicago Cubs, that finished this past week with a 6-2 record.

Being the optimist that I am, there is hope. Even with our bad week, our playoff chances only go down very slightly.

Let’s take a look at the NL Central PPI Projections for end of the year:

Team                     Wins       Losses      GB

Cubs                       87.4          74.6          –

Cardinals              83.4           78.6          4

Brewers                83.4           78.6          4

Pirates                  77.8            84.2         9.6

Reds                      70.3            91.7         17.1

As I previously mentioned, last week the St. Louis Cardinals were within 1.6 games of the Chicago Cubs. After this week, we fell to being projected at four games behind them.

Our task of getting to the magic number of 88 wins is now tougher due to this. With thirty-eight games left to go, we have to play outstanding to reach that win total. Even to make the eighty-six win mark, which I believe is a minimum for a playoff berth this year, we will have to play fairly well.

We are projected to finish the season with a 20-18 record down the stretch. In order to get eighty-six wins, we will have to finish 23-15. For an eighty-eight wins, that I believe almost guarantees a playoff berth, we will have to finish 25-13. Clearly a lofty goal.

Why I am still optimistic about St. Louis Cardinals playoff chances

We still have seven games to play against the Chicago Cubs and five games left to play versus the Milwaukee Brewers. A lot can change, considering a third of games left are against the divisional opponents we are neck and neck with.

Other great news for the St. Louis Cardinals, the wild card is starting to open. The Arizona Diamondbacks had a bad week for their projections. Since the All-Star break, when they were projected at nearly ninety-four wins, they have fallen to eighty-seven wins. Last week, they were still at ninety wins projected. Clearly they are trending down.

The Colorado Rockies on the other hand have remained stagnant, hovering around the 87-89 win mark since the All-Star break. Even better, the latest PPI Projections have them at their lowest mark since at eighty-seven wins.

Next: Mike Matheny replacements

At the end of the day, all of this is somewhat irrelevant. If our Redbirds want to make the postseason they better start winning some baseball games. We may not need another eight game win streak, although it would be nice, but we cannot lose any more series. I still am optimistic, but we only have few of our nine lives left. We need more Rally Cat!