2 excuses the Cardinals can't use in 2023, and 1 they can use

While the success of a team's season lies in the hands of the players, coaching staff, and front office, sometimes bad luck happens. Which excuses can the 2023 Cardinals use to explain their down year?
St. Louis Cardinals v Philadelphia Phillies
St. Louis Cardinals v Philadelphia Phillies / Hunter Martin/GettyImages
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"They had a tough schedule!" - False

This year, MLB instituted what they call a "balanced schedule" For the first time, every team would play every other team for at least one series in the regular season. This created opportunities for NL teams and AL teams to play during the season. Teams in weaker divisions could no longer rely on a weaker schedule to make it to the playoffs.

Fangraphs releases various projections at the beginning of the season for each team. One of those values that is included in this data is strength of schedule. Based on 2022 results, which team's opponents for the year have the worst winning percentage? Put in other words, which teams are playing the worst teams from 2022?

Before the year started, the Cardinals had the easiest schedule according to Fangraphs. Literally every other team in the majors and NL Central had a tougher schedule than the Cardinals. Using 2022 records, the Cardinals' 2023 opponents had a combined winning percentage of .492. The Brewers had the 2nd easiest schedule. The Orioles, one of the best teams in the majors this year, had the toughest projected schedule. The Cardinals can't blame a tough schedule on their bad season.