With nine games to go vs. NL Central this season, the St. Louis Cardinals are on track to post a rare losing divisional record.
1998 brought a realignment in baseball as the Milwaukee Brewers moved from the American League Central to the National League Central. At that time, the current six-team NLC configuration was born.
It was Tony La Russa’s third season as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. Over the 13 years since, the Cards are currently in the midst of what may be their fourth losing season against the other five teams in the division, along with 2008, 2006 and 1999.
What makes 2010 unique is that it is the only year since the Brewers entered the division that the Cardinals lost their season series against what had generally been their three strongest contenders in the past – Milwaukee, Chicago and Houston.
That won’t change the rest of the way as the Cardinals have just three games remaining against the Cubs. Even if St. Louis wins all three, Chicago is assured of taking the season series.
The Cards’ other six NL Central games remaining are against the Pirates, three away and three at home. As long as St. Louis takes at least two of the six contests, they will maintain a winning 2010 mark over Pittsburgh.
If the Cardinals can take at least five on the nine ahead vs. Chicago and Pittsburgh, they can avoid that fourth losing season in 13 against the rest of the division.
The likely NL Central champions from Cincinnati, who will be making their first playoff appearance since 1995, will finish with a 12-6 deficit to the Cardinals.
St. Louis Cardinals, record against NL Central teams, 1998-current
Thanks to researcher Tom Orf for providing the table above.