With a 14-13 record and two games remaining in April, the St. Louis Cardinals will finish the month within a few games of .500. While that is disappointing compared to the expectations of many, it is not terrible compared to past Cardinals teams.
There remains only three possibilities for this month to conclude. The Cardinals and the first-place Milwaukee Brewers will either split the two remaining contests or one of the two clubs will take both.
Here is the range of outcomes.
|If Cards||April||Worst||End April||Largest|
|take||Record||Pct.||pct since||standings||deficit since|
|two wins||16-13||0.552||2007||down 3.5 games||2007|
|split||15-14||0.517||2007||down 5.5 games||2007|
|two losses||14-15||0.483||2007||down 7.5 games||1988|
Looking at won-loss only, the month is already certain to be the team’s worst April since 2007. That year, the Cardinals started 10-14. After playing the rest of the way at two games under .500, the 2007 Cardinals finished with a losing season record of 78-84.
One has to be careful not to read too much into these first-month starts, however. St. Louis also finished under .500 in April 2002, but came back to win 97 contests and take the division by 13 games.
When also considering the impact of the Brewers’ 2014 MLB-best fast start of 19-7 on the standings, the situation changes. Instead of leading the division as they had in each of the last six years, the Cardinals are looking up at another. The worst-case scenario changes the point of comparison two decades earlier.
If the Cards drop the final two games of the current series, they would fall to 7 ½ games behind Milwaukee. That would put the Cardinals in their biggest hole standings-wise heading into May since 1988, over a quarter of a century ago. The 1988 Cardinals exited April eight games out of first place. Otherwise, 2007 remains the most-recent benchmark.
On the other hand, wins on Tuesday and Wednesday would bring the Cards to within 3 1/2 games of first place, making the 2002 reversal a potentially-relevant comparison.
Of course, plenty of time remains for the 2014 Cardinals to write an entirely new full-season script instead.
Here are the first-month and full-season details for the Cardinals going back to 1988.
|2014 (4/28)||14-13||0.519||down 5.5|
|2013||15-11||0.577||up 0.5||97-65||0.599||up 3.0|
|2012||14-8||0.636||up 3.0||88-74||0.543||down 9.0|
|2011||16-11||0.593||up 2.0||90-72||0.556||down 6.0|
|2010||15-8||0.652||up 3.0||86-76||0.531||down 3.0|
|2009||16-7||0.696||up 3.5||91-71||0.562||up 7.5|
|2008||18-11||0.621||tied 1st||86-76||0.531||down 11.5|
|2007||10-14||0.417||down 5.5||78-84||0.481||down 7.0|
|2006||17-8||0.680||tied 1st||83-78||0.516||up 1.5|
|2005||15-7||0.682||up 3.5||100-62||0.617||up 11.0|
|2004||12-11||0.522||down 1.5||105-57||0.648||up 13.0|
|2003||13-12||0.520||down 1.0||85-77||0.525||down 3.0|
|2002||12-14||0.462||down 4.5||97-65||0.599||up 13.0|
|2001||12-12||0.500||down 3.0||93-69||0.574||tied 1st|
|2000||17-8||0.680||up 4.5||95-67||0.586||up 10.0|
|1999||12-9||0.571||down 0.5||75-86||0.466||down 21.5|
|1998||16-11||0.593||down 1.0||83-79||0.512||down 19.0|
|1997||11-14||0.440||down 3.5||73-89||0.451||down 11.0|
|1996||12-15||0.444||down 1.0||88-74||0.543||up 6.0|
|1995||2-3||0.400||down 2.0||62-81||0.434||down 22.5|
|1994||12-9||0.571||down 2.5||53-61||0.465||down 13.0|
|1993||13-10||0.565||down 4.5||87-75||0.537||down 10.0|
|1992||11-11||0.500||down 5.0||83-79||0.512||down 13.0|
|1991||13-8||0.619||down 0.5||84-78||0.519||down 14.0|
|1990||9-11||0.450||down 5.0||70-92||0.432||down 25.0|
|1989||13-9||0.591||up 1.0||86-76||0.531||down 7.0|
|1988||8-14||0.364||down 8.0||76-86||0.469||down 25.0|