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Two losses would put Cardinals in biggest April hole since 1988

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
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.



Record Pct. Standings
Record Pct. Standings
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

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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14 Responses to “Two losses would put Cardinals in biggest April hole since 1988”

    • Brian Walton says:

      In my view, you make a trade for one of two reasons. The main one is that you have a clear need that can be addressed by trade. (Of course, a ready and appropriate partner that has what you want must be identified.)

      You don’t make a trade early in the season because other teams are generally not interested in doing so and never deal when your asset is devalued.

      The second reason is to dispose of an unwanted player and be willing to take less than full value. I don’t see the Cardinals in that category with Bourjos.

      Sorry, but I disagree with you.

      • blingboy says:

        I’m not sure what to make of Bourjos but I think we got hosed.

        Grichuk looks good so far. Arm isn’t the greatest though.

      • crdswmn says:

        I don’t have a problem with you disagreeing with me.

        But I disagree with you. I think Bourjos is most definitely an unwanted player. Especially by Matheny. The repressed anger in his voice during the post game show about the Bourjos bunt told me all I needed to know.

        • Brian Walton says:

          Even if that was true, the manager doesn’t set the roster.

          • crdswmn says:

            A pretty smart baseball guy said to me the other day that a good GM should back his manager if at all possible.

            • Brian Walton says:

              Was it TLR by chance? 😉

              • crdswmn says:

                Nope. Not without tying me down and torturing me.

                Speaking of supporting your manager’s dislike of players:

                What do Anthony Reyes, Scott Rolen, Colby Rasmus and Ryan Ludwick all have in common?

                • Brian Walton says:

                  I suspect the level of power enjoyed by the two managers is not the same.

                  • crdswmn says:

                    Not the same power, but the same GM. Support your manager.

                    • crdswmn says:

                      By they way, though I still want Mo to trade Bourjos, I don’t want anyone to think it’s because I think Bourjos is not a good player. Matheny can say whatever he wants to justify himself and make it look like it is all on Bourjos, but if you look at the games leading up to Bourjos getting yanked for Jay, Bourjos had been hitting better, had his average up over .200. In fact, the game before Jay hit that HR in Milwaukee and then began getting all the playing time, Bourjos hit a triple, scored a run and got an RBI. The very next game he was benched for Jay. Only after he started getting less playing time, did his BA plummet.

                      Matheny isn’t snowing me one bit. He can thank himself for helping to create what he is now condemning.

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    Here is the deal about Bourjos….

    He had a fine 2011, then reasonably got benched by the arrival of uber stud Trout. This may have helped persuade Bourjos to try to muscle up and hit the ball far when given a second chance in St Louis. We virtually handed CF to him and Jay slumped in spring training. We favorably gave Bourjos the 8th slot in the lineup, where expectations are not high and your only job is make contact and try to get on base. This suits his tools. Brian has reported Bourjos has a high success rate in bunting for hits.

    Unfortunately Bourjos has instead been whiffing at an alarming rate (35%), more normal in a slugger swinging for the fences. If you do not put the ball in play, your on base opportunities decrease accordingly.
    Also, the Cards compete to win. Mo and Mike are intensely serious about winning from day 1 through October. Do we like a light bad good glove CF whiffing a lot? No we cannot afford to give away a lineup slot to a batter who is not producing and worse does not have an approach that is going to be successful. Can we leave out there for months, until his “n” becomes higher and he miraculously finds himself and everything is happy ever after? No.
    We have to shake things up, no free pass for Bourjos to take his own sweet time, when we want to win today. Everybody has to perform and thereby earn future playing time. Grichuk will probably be overmatched since inexperienced and is probably not nifty on defense, but at least he has some pop, so he can take some at bats. Jay can take some. If Bourjos get more at bats, he is going to need to be short to the ball, make contact, and run like the wind down to first base. He could actually bunt, not just feint bunts. Joe Kelly is on the DL because he tried to do what Bourjos should be doing every game, bunt and run, small ball. If done well, then Bourjos could become useful and earn more playing time. If not, he can be a late inning defender, pinch runner, or pinch hitter. He has to show us reasons to invest in his career. Its the Show Me State.

  2. kray66 says:

    I’m glad crdswmn brought up the bunt on Monday night. What the heck was that? Holliday on 2nd with one out? And we try to bunt him to third? I guess I could understand it if you think you can draw the third basemen in to field the ball, but after Bourjos bunted it foul, it was clear the Brewers had the defense figured out and would throw Holliday out at third as the shortstop covered.

    What am I missing? Was that what Bourjos decided to do on his own?

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