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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Cardinals need 2001 results in 2011

The St. Louis Cardinals have traditionally been fast starters in the National League Central Division. Not so in 2011, as the team has played just .500 ball in the early going.

The competitive balance across the 2011 NL Central has been illustrated through 16 games. The division leader, Cincinnati, had nine wins with four other clubs, including St. Louis, just one game behind.

Then, there is Pittsburgh, still looking for a winning NL Central season, let alone a post-season berth.

Carrying a .500 record though 16 games does not necessarily indicate future doom.

Since the current six-team configuration of the NL Central was established in 1998, three of the eventual 13 divisional winners had logged eight or fewer wins through 16 games with two other 8-8 or worse NLC clubs going on to earn the wild card.

The 2001 Cardinals are one of those five improving NLC teams. Despite having gone 7-9 to start the season, they went on to win 93 games and entered the playoffs. It was also current hitting coach Mark McGwire’s swan song as an active player.

In aggregate over this 13-plus-year period, St. Louis has the most first-16-game wins, most regular season wins (at 1,165) and most playoff appearances with seven.

Cardinals fans have to hope they can equal or better 2001 here in 2011.

National League Central, wins, first 16 games, 1998-current

NL Central STL PIT MIL HOU CIN CHC total
1998 10 7 11 8 8 9 53
1999 10 8 7 9 6 7 47
2000 11 6 6 6 8 6 43
2001 7 6 7 9 9 11 49
2002 9 11 4 7 8 6 45
2003 9 8 6 9 5 10 47
2004 9 7 8 9 10 10 53
2005 11 5 6 8 8 8 46
2006 10 5 8 11 10 9 53
2007 7 6 9 9 8 6 45
2008 11 7 10 6 7 10 51
2009 11 9 7 6 9 8 50
2010 10 7 8 6 7 6 44
2011 8 8 8 5 9 8 46
total 133 100 105 108 112 114
Division winner
Wildcard

National League Central, wins, season, 1998-current

NL Central STL PIT MIL HOU CIN CHC total
1998 83 69 74 102 77 90 495
1999 75 78 74 97 96 67 487
2000 95 69 73 72 85 65 459
2001 93 62 68 93 66 88 470
2002 97 72 56 84 78 67 454
2003 85 75 68 87 69 88 472
2004 105 72 67 92 76 89 501
2005 100 67 81 89 73 79 489
2006 83 67 75 82 80 66 453
2007 78 68 83 73 72 85 459
2008 86 67 90 86 74 97 500
2009 91 62 80 74 78 83 468
2010 86 57 77 76 91 75 462
2011 8 8 8 5 9 8 46
total 1165 893 974 1112 1024 1047

Thanks to researcher Tom Orf for providing the above tables.

How many games will the 2011 Cardinals win?

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