It seems that every time the Cardinals lose on Twitter, there’s a segment of fans that seem to believe the season is over. It doesn’t matter that the Cardinals have the best record in baseball by a few games or even have a five game lead in their division. All is lost! Just go ahead and send the players home. Forfeit the rest of the season. The Cardinals lost a game on August 9th. There’s no chance.
Sounds ludicrous doesn’t it?
You see, us Cardinals fans are a spoiled bunch. Forget about the #BFIB insults that other team’s fan bases hurl at us, we do it to ourselves.
So lets all just collectively take a breath, enjoy the ride, and remember how hard it is to actually win baseball games. In that spirit, here are three things to remember as the Pirates come to town.
1. The Pirates aren’t closing in on the Cardinals.
At the All Star Break, the Pirates were 2.5 games behind the Cardinals. Entering play today, they are 5 games back. So the Cardinals have actually stretched out a lead over the last few weeks. After Saturday’s game, both teams were 7-3 in their previous 10 games too. And until the Pirates exploded for 13 runs yesterday, they’d only scored one more run than the Cardinals in August.
So for all the talk about how great the Pirates are and how they can’t seem to lose, the Cardinals’ offense might be crappy, but the two teams seem equally matched right now. So that doesn’t scare me when we have the advantage.
2. It’s a long, long, long season and you’re never going to win every game.
Major League Baseball was founded in 1903 and in 113 seasons, no team has ever won every game. Only one team, the 1906 Chicago Cubs, have even won 75% of their games. So it’s safe to say that every team, no matter how great they are, are going to lose some games.
The season is long. At 162 games, it’s the longest of any professional sport by almost double. It’s a grind and it’s more about how you do over the course of the season. I doubt we’ll be looking back and going, “Man, if we’d just won that game on August 9th, we’d have won it all.”
3. Pittsburgh has yet to win at Busch Stadium this year.
So far the Cardinals have gone 5-5 against the Pirates this season. The Cardinals are 2-5 in PNC Park and 3-0 in Busch Stadium. And 6 of our remaining 9 games against Pittsburgh are going to be played on home turf in St. Louis.
The Cardinals are going to make the postseason.
You can write that down and reference it later. Since the Wild Card was introduced, there has only been a single instance of a team winning 90 games and not making the playoffs. Now with the extra wild card, that wouldn’t have happened. So 90 wins is pretty much a guaranteed trip to the postseason. For it to not be, you’d need five 90 game winning teams between two divisions to send a 90 win team home. And that’s not going to happen.
Currently at 71-40, the Cardinals will win 90 games. They just need to win 19 of their next 51 (.372) to do so. In comparison, the Pirates will need to win 25 of 53 (.471) and the Cubs will need to win 28 of 52 (.538).
With the pitching the Cardinals have, getting to 90 wins will be easy. They’ll probably even shout at 100.
Now there is room for improvement, but lets keep this all in perspective. The Cardinals are the best pitching team in baseball and are even historically great in that regard. Their offense, while it provides us stress on a nightly basis, is still a league average offense. It could be a lot worse.
So until a team gets within a couple games, there really isn’t a reason to worry. The Cardinals have been the best team in baseball most of the year with a hobbled lineup and a rotation that’s missing it’s ace. I believe in this team and I believe that when it comes to winning games that they need to win, this team responds unlike any other. I’ve seen it for myself. Haven’t you?