Baseball has always been a game of numbers. They are a good indicator of what will happen. It is a matter of probability. How many times a batter is going to get a hit. How many times a pitcher is going to get an out or how many runs he will give up in a game. It is the backbone of the game. After beating the Braves tonight the Cardinals have just 52 games remaining in the season. I crunched some numbers tonight to determine if the Cardinals have enough to get the playoffs. Here is what I have come up with.
I thought that the Cardinals really were beating up on lower teams and as it turns out the numbers back that point up. The Cardinals against below .500 teams this season (Atlanta, Cincinnati, Colorado, Houston. Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco, Washington and Kansas City) are a combined 41-25. A winning percentage of 62%. Against teams at 500 or above they are only 20-24. A 45% winning percentage. That is quite a disparity. Where that number starts getting scary is when you look at the schedule the rest of the way.
The Cardinals have 20 games remaining against below .500 teams the rest of the way. That leaves 32 against teams above .500. If you take those same winning percentages and put that up against games remaining it tells you they will win 12 of 20 against sub-.500 teams and only 14 of the 32 against above 500 teams.
That leaves the team with 87 wins on the season, which before the season would have been a tremendous number. But now that the team is in the pennant race it doesn't seem that 87 would be enough.
When you look through NL Playoff history since the inception of the Wild Card 87 wins is not usually enough to make the playoffs. Since 1995 only once has the Wild Card team had 87 wins or less and that was the Colorado Rockies in 1995 in a shortened season. It has been good enough to win a division 4 times including the 2006 Cardinals that went on to win the World Series. The only problem with that this season is the Chicago Cubs are going to win more than 87 times.
Those are what the numbers say. It looks like an uphill battle for the Cardinals. Luckily those numbers and percentages still have time to change. The trends are going to have to change though if they are going to make the playoffs.