The St. Louis Cardinals’ 2018 season has been a roller coaster and a half. The team has turned things around and have a good chance to still make the playoffs. So, my question is, regardless of how these last games go, is the season a success?
The St. Louis Cardinals have looked like about five different teams this year. They are the team that can’t hit, the team with no bullpen, the team with the best rotation, and many more versions of themselves. Of course it is normal for teams to go through stretches where one aspect of their game is slumping, but I think this is the first year where I have really heard fans decide that one slumping part of the team was flaw and that was just their identity.
The true identity of the team lies somewhere between all the different dissociative identities this team has.
The last three series feature San Francisco, Milwaukee, and Chicago. With the game and a half lead they have over the Rockies at the time of publication, the Cardinals are anything but a lock to get into the Wildcard game. Lets imagine for a moment that the last 10 games of the season didn’t matter though.
Regardless of how this season ends, would you call it a success? This is not necessarily an easy question with a straight forward answer, but in my experience, it all depends on expectations for the season. Nationally, the Cardinals were not projected to do very well.
By the standard set by USA Today, the Cardinals season would be an undeniable success. At 84 wins with 10 to play, getting to 90 wins is not out of the question. This is just one organizations projections, but when it comes down to it, every fan may have their own definition of success. It all depends on how you expected the team to play.
For some fans, the season would never have high expectations with Matheny at the helm. The hiring of Shildt changed the outlook for the team and for the fans. Some would consider this year to be a success because Matheny is gone regardless of the on the field play.
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Still, for some fans, success is determined by playoffs or bust. In that we will have to see in a couple weeks whether or not they were successful this year.
It really can vary from fan to fan.
According to Fangraphs, the Cardinals started the season at 61.6 percent odds to make the playoffs. At its lowest point, the percentage was at 7 percent on August 31st. Now, after a torrid August, the number sits at 79.1 percent. This chart below shows the full range of the odds.
As a whole. The Cardinals were trending towards one of their most depressing seasons in the last 10 years. On July 15th, the change began with the hiring of Shildt, then continued in the following weeks which has led us to hold a spot in the playoffs at this time. In most cases, I do not think that the next 10 games determine if it is a successful season, but you readers may disagree.
Going by projection algorithms, this team had a successful year. But, as Twitter does, people still complain and moan about this season and it’s pitfalls for the team. The whole premise of the article was that the answer to the success question varies from fan to fan. So, what do you think of the Cardinals 2018 season? Success or flop?