Obviously, the Cardinal fan in me wants to believe that it’s always possible to make it to the postseason. Even when our backs are against the wall, the Redbirds have been known to do amazing things. Even when we supposedly “backed in” to the playoffs in 2006, the Cardinals pulled off the impossible: a World Series victory. And, in 2005, when all hope was lost in Houston, Albert managed to get all of a Brad Lidge pitch (and then some) to give us one more game back in St. Louis.
But as we all know, not every year is meant to be. So the question is this: do the Cardinals have a legitimate shot at a postseason berth? Obviously, once they’re in, all teams are on equal footing. But, for now, can they squeeze out enough wins to sneak in at all?
I think so. And here’s why.
Ok, first I concede that first place is pretty much a distant hope. Fine. There’s still the wild card and that’s not a bad position to be in, historically speaking.
- Of the 13 years the wild card has been around, 8 of the 13 National League wild card winners have won the first round of playoffs and advanced to the NLCS
- Of those 13 teams, 8 have advanced to the World Series.
- And of those 8 teams, 2 have actually won the World Series.
- And of those same 8 teams, another 2 lost to AL wild cards.
So going in as a wild card doesn’t seem so bad.
Before tonight’s game we sit back 4 1/2 games from the Wild Card. Again, not that bad. The hardest part is the fact that we have 3 teams to climb over. If it was just Milwaukee, I would say it was totally doable. But, now we also have Philadelphia and the always pesky Houston Astros.)
(Side note: Houston fast must drive themselves crazy with the thought that if their club ever played halfway decent first half ball, their 2nd half play would put them in first place just about every year. I checked and since 2004, the ‘Stros have a September .619 winning percentage. If they could play at that level, all year, it would have been good enough for first place for every year, except ’04, when the Cardinals smoked the other teams by winning 105 games. And compare that to the Cardinals September record over the same period: a measly .479 winning percentage. And this is a team who has gone to the postseason every year except 2 since 2000. But I guess that’s why you play 162 games. By the way, I didn’t have the patience to check all of the other teams, but if anybody else wants to figure out your team’s September record from 2004-2008, please post it. I’d love to know if the ‘Stros have the best or not.)
Ok, back to Cardinal baseball. 4 1/2 games out. We have 17 games left and 4 of them are against Chicago. But the teams ahead of us play quite a few games vs. each other. The Cubs have 6 more against Milwaukee including the last 3 games of the season. They also have 3 more against the fore-mentioned, September-hot Houston Astros (although 2 of them will be made up at a later date.) The Brewers have 4 more against the Phillies.
All of this is good and bad. It’s good because someone has to lose. It’s bad because both teams can’t lose. That means we need to play near perfect baseball and all of these teams to pretty much split when playing each other, while losing the rest of their games. It’s hard, but not impossible. Our elimination number is still in double digits at 13, so there is still plenty of hope at this point.
Nevetheless, there is one wild card spots and four teams that want it. Only one will win. Let’s just hope that it goes to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Looking for the rubber match win,