Over the course of a 162-game season, there are all sorts of ups and downs. Winning streaks, losing streaks, close plays, blown calls…etc. Players go on, and come off the disabled list, attendance figures rise and fall–a lot of things fluctuate over such a long season. Ask every manager in baseball about blown calls by the umpires during a regular-season game, and you’ll probably get 30 very similar responses: some will go your way, and some will go against you, but, over 162 games, it all evens out. A wise man once said, “Two out of three ain’t bad”. Held to today’s Major League Baseball schedule, that equates to a team winning 108 games–”not bad” indeed–in fact, within striking distance of the all-time record.
Last week, part of what I wrote was about the schedules of the Cardinals, Brewers, and Reds, stating that the Cardinals were in a position to really put some distance between themselves and the rest of the National League Central division. To “win the series” is a good frame of reference for success, in my opinion. This isn’t the NFL, where you MUST play each and every down to win that game, because so few games are played. Baseball’s schedule has ten times more games than that of the NFL, so winning the series is a good goal for baseball teams to aim for. One that, as previously mentioned, would bring wild success if achieved each and every time.
I took at a look at the Cardinals season to this point, and scanned the schedule & corresponding results for a series won or lost. The Cards have played in 20 different series’ so far in the 2011 campaign, and have won at least two games in a robust 14 of those (roughly two out of three). They entered play on Wednesday with the best record in baseball at 37-25, and a 2 ½ game lead in the division. Truly, two out of three (or in a couple of cases two & four) hasn’t been bad at all for this Cardinals team–it’s been pretty good, in fact!
Despite some defensive deficiencies around the diamond, they’ve managed to quietly win night after night without much fanfare or spectacle. That’s not to say we’ve not seen our share of exciting games, we certainly have. It just seems to me that our redbirds have enjoyed a lot of this success without much media attention (I mean, you know, less than usual for teams not named Red Sox or Yankees).
I think if the Cards keep going about their business they way they have up to this point, they’ll be in good shape come late September. The team might not be 100% healthy right now; but injuries are a part of the game, and no team is immune from being bitten by the injury bug. The pitching rotation has been ok without Kyle McClellan’s arm, and while the defense in the field may suffer some, with the (at least temporary) loss of Allen Craig, it isn’t like we’ve lost a gold glove, irreplaceable type of defender in Craig. Offensively? Yes, Matt Holliday is currently missing from the triple-threat of Pujols-Holliday-Berkman…but don’t be sad, ‘cause two outta three ain’t bad!