On July 26, the St. Louis Cardinals held a half-game lead in the National League Central race. Since then, the Cards have basically played .500 ball (11-10 after Wednesday night’s win) as they have for the entire season since its first month.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee has opened up a seven-game lead on St. Louis. A contributor was the Brewers winning head-to-head series over the Cardinals both home and away but Milwaukee has been playing very well against all competition. In the Wild Card race, the Cards are third, one game behind San Francisco and six games back of Atlanta.
With 38 games remaining in the 2011 regular season, the sizes of the deficits have caused many to begin figuring. Numbers are being thrown around to indicate how poorly the front-runners must play the rest of the way and how well St. Louis needs to perform to reach the lead in either race.
The targets are not unattainable, yet the size of the mountain seemingly grows each day. The recent play of all involved does not signal a change in the current trends – which are negative from the Cardinals’ perspective.
What do you consider to have been the biggest single factor that has kept the 2011 Cardinals from winning more games?