If the St. Louis Cardinals fall short of the playoffs in 2011, there will be a number of potential contributing factors to consider over the winter. They may include personnel, front office and managerial decisions made, injuries and much more.
In terms of the bottom line, wins and losses, what happened seems pretty clear. The gaudy home record of the likely National League Central champ Milwaukee Brewers has been well documented – with its fairness even questioned by some.
There is more to it than that, however. The Brew Crew has also taken care of business against both their weaker sisters in the NLC and against losing clubs across MLB overall. Needless to say, St. Louis has not performed at the same level. This seems to mirror the Cardinals’ overall 2011 performance of having been good, but not great.
With only 5 ½ games separating the two clubs in the standings, it is easy to see how better performance by the Cardinals in any of these areas could have been a difference-maker in the race against the Brewers.
|2011||Home record||vs. losing teams||vs. NL Central|
|MIL advantage||+12 games||+22 games||+12 games|
(Numbers through September 15.)
Further, as we look at the remaining schedule, the Brewers’ final four series are all against teams out of the hunt – Cincinnati and Chicago on the road, followed by Florida and Pittsburgh at home.
Following their current series against the best team in baseball, Philadelphia, the Cardinals also have three losing clubs on their slate – the Mets and Cubs at home and Houston on the road.
St. Louis’ results to date this season in those situations have not been particularly good, lending little comfort to those still holding onto post-season hopes.
In the short term, however, the Cardinals almost have a positive record against winning teams at 24-25, while the Brew Crew is just 23-32. That provides come consolation for the “just win today” crowd.