The other day, I wrote an article lauding the progress made by the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds this season to claw back from an 8 ½ game deficit to claim first place in the Northern Division of the Pacific Coast League this past week. Given their struggles in recent years prior to a second-place finish at 75-67 in 2008, Memphis’ current situation seems noteworthy.
As I scanned the stat sheets of the Major League club this past afternoon in New York, I began to notice some striking similarities between the Cardinals and their Triple-A brethren – and I don’t just mean the names on the rosters as players have gone up and down between the two clubs all season long.
The Cardinals are also in a dogfight for their division, within a half game of the National League Central lead one way or the other since the 26th of May.
The two club’s records through Wednesday are almost identical. Memphis has played one more game and has one more loss.
Both clubs had winning Aprils and Julys, but experienced losing months in between in May and June. I found this most striking.
Each of the teams’ longest winning streak is five games. The Cardinals have done it three times; the Redbirds twice.
Memphis’ longest losing streak is one more game than St. Louis’ at six.
When considering run scoring, the two are close, though not identical. The Redbirds are two games better than .500 when plating three, while the Cardinals are slightly better when scoring more than three.
The big difference is in play on the road. The Cardinals are following part of the formula I was taught long ago for a playoff season – win half of your road games. Where they are failing is in not winning two of every three at home. (The formula would get a MLB team playing a 162-game schedule 95 wins.)
Unlike St. Louis, the Redbirds are close to the 66 percent home victory ideal, but are eight games under .500 away from AutoZone Park. As was noted by “Memphis25” the other day in the comments following the initial Memphis article, the majority of the Redbirds’ remaining games are on the road, 20 of their remaining 32. On the other hand, St. Louis has 27 home tilts and 25 away games ahead.
“Memphis25” also commented on the difficulty of schedule facing the Redbirds, with all but one series remaining against the top two teams in their respective divisions. The Cardinals are approaching a stretch with relatively weaker opponents in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, San Diego, Houston and Washington in August. The list includes all three NL cellar-dwellers and each of those clubs listed currently has a losing record.
While St. Louis may appear to have the easier road ahead, the games have yet to be played, says the tired but accurate cliché.
Still, when all is considered, the similarities between where these two clubs currently stand seemed interesting enough to call it out.
|Thru 8/5||St. Louis||Memphis|
|Win||5 (3x)||5 (2x)|
|< 3 runs||5-26||6-30|
|> 3 runs||44-13||43-14|