Overreactions abound after Cardinals' series split with Reds despite winning month

The Cardinals are meeting preseason expectations, but fans still bemoan every loss as though it's the end of the season.
Cincinnati Reds  v St. Louis Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals / Scott Kane/GettyImages

My brother is a marathoner, and I recently spoke with him about his approach to one of the most demanding physical events. The 26.2-mile course is taxing on the human body both physically and mentally. In order to maintain a strong mental approach to the race, he must "chunk" up the marathon. Taking all 26.2 miles at once is daunting and nearly impossible; instead, marathoners often split up the race at various checkpoints like the 5K mark, 10K mark, half-marathon mark, and 20-mile point to ensure they are staying on pace. Doing check-ins at various allows runners to amp it up or maintain their pace depending on their time and stamina.

The same goes for a baseball season. It's often described as a marathon, not a sprint. If a team is struggling after one month, they don't give up. Rather, they dial it up the next month to make up for lost ground. If a team has a bad series, they can try and play better the next. While some series, games, and matchups are naturally bigger than others, players, managers, and coaches don't get beat down over one loss. After all, even a 100-win team has to experience 62 losses scattered throughout the season.

Preseason projections for the St. Louis Cardinals pegged them to be improved from last year but not to the level of success fans were accustomed to for nearly 2 decades. After 83 games, the Cardinals sit at 43-40 with an "on-pace" record of about 84 wins; that's right in line with the bulk of projections from major outlets and from pundits across baseball.

So, why are fans so frustrated with the season? After all, the Cardinals have held sole possession of a Wild Card spot for over a week now. All it takes is getting into the playoffs to make a run at a World Series title, just ask the 2006 Cardinals, 2014 Kansas City Royals, 2022 Philadelphia Phillies, and 2023 Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Cardinals' most recent series against the Cincinnati Reds featured the splitting the 4 games. The Reds are now 6 games below .500 and fading in the playoff picture. The Cardinals, when looking at just records, should have won the series, but they didn't. An 11-4 loss on Saturday night was deflating for fans. The manager, however? Not phased. After all, the Cardinals had just 3 off days in the month of June, and they were on the final two games of a 9-game stretch.

In Oliver Marmol's postgame interview, he discussed how the team will react to the loss. He was asked if the team would simply move on from the loss and forget about it. His response demonstrates mental fortitude during a strenuous time of play.

"You learn from every loss and every win, so you don't just move on from it. I will say we've gotta just did deep tomorrow and figure out a way to come out with some energy and take the game and then get to that off day."

Oliver Marmol

Marmol and the team didn't overreact to one bad game; instead, they set their sights on the series finale and took it against the Reds. The Cardinals finished the 10-game homestand with a 7-3 record against the San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves, and Cincinnati Reds. That's a former playoff contender, a top team in the National League, and a tough division rival that the Cardinals went .700 against. They finished the month of June with a 16-12 record that catapulted them heavily into playoff conversations.

Site expert Josh Jacobs recently discussed the importance of making the playoffs in a grueling season. The same goes for not overreacting to wins and losses. The baseball season is arduous and lengthy, but it's supposed to be fun and entertaining. Watch the game, celebrate the wins, mourn the losses, but keep an eye on the future.