If you perceive the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals haven’t broken off a long winning streak, you are absolutely correct. The club has won four straight on six prior occasions this season, but they lost game number five every single time.
The seventh four-game winning streak of the 2011 season was assembled by St. Louis in Florida over the weekend and is the team’s first in over a month. Game one of the Milwaukee series on Tuesday will present the Cardinals with another chance to finally log that elusive fifth consecutive victory.
To help put that into current perspective, the Philadelphia Phillies just concluded a nine-game streak and even the lowly Chicago Cubs are just coming off a seven-game winning run. Like St. Louis, the Brewers are working on extending four in a row. One of the two will be disappointed on Tuesday.
In terms of losing streaks, the Cardinals had one ugly stretch of seven consecutive losses which occurred back in early June. Other than that, 2011 has seen just five three-game skids and nothing worse.
I had previously looked at the correlation between St. Louis Cardinals winning and losing streaks and making the playoffs, with a streak defined as three games or more. Forget about series – this is simply about stringing some “W’s” together.
With nine winning streaks and six losing skids this season, the 2011 Cardinals are on pace to most closely approximate the 2006 club at 13 and eight, respectively.
St. Louis Cardinals, number of winning and losing streaks, 1996-2011
|# Winning streaks||# Losing streaks||Playoffs|
|2011 YTD 8/8||9||6|
The above is just a total count, so let’s look at the streak durations. Only once in manager Tony La Russa’s 16 years with St. Louis has his team not had at least a five-game winning streak. That was back in 1999, another non-playoff season. So far, 2011 would be the second.
In another very interesting factoid, the Cardinals have had just two winning streaks longer than five games over the last five-plus years – a six-gamer in 2008 and an eight-gamer last season. That is it since prior to the winning of the 2006 World Championship.
St. Louis Cardinals, winning streaks by number of games, 1996-2011
|Winning streaks||11 games||10||9||8||7||6||5||4||3||Total|
|2011 YTD 8/8||7||2||9|
St. Louis Cardinals, losing streaks by number of games, 1996-2011
|Losing streaks||11 games||10||9||8||7||6||5||4||3||Total|
|2011 YTD 8/8||1||5||6|
La Russa is known for not letting his teams get too high or too low. That may need to change – in a big hurry.
With his club at risk of falling further behind Milwaukee in the National League Central Division, now seems the time to seek out a high – in terms of breaking off a long run of victories – before the 2011 season is lost as was the case in three of the last four years.