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Three Words About the Cardinals “Soft” Remaining Schedule: Please Hush Up.

I keep hearing and reading that the Cardinals have a favorable remaining schedule, simply because they’ll play so many games against losing teams.

Here’s my thought on that: Nonsense.

Oh, sure. The remaining 37 games are loaded with mediocre, losing or otherwise incomplete teams that have multiple problems.

In other words, teams that are kind of like the 2017 St. Louis Cardinals.

Not a juggernaut.

To be precise, the Cardinals will compete in 25 games against teams that currently have a losing record.  The only exceptions: five vs. the Brewers, and seven against Cubs.

If you think anything comes easy for the Cardinals, then congratulations on taking one helluva nap. Being a sleep-deprived individual, I have to admit I’m envious of anyone who can snooze during the first 125 games of the Cards season.

About that “soft” schedule … shhhh.

This isn’t easy … because the Cardinals have an awful habit of making it hard for themselves.

Here’s why

1. Not counting the three games against Tampa Bay this weekend — because the teams haven’t faced each other  this year — the Cardinals’ 2017 in-progress record against the other six teams on their schedule is 23-33. Yeah, I said 23-33. Count it up:

4-8 vs. Cubs

5-8 vs. Reds

6-8 vs. Brewers

7-6 vs. Pirates

1-2 vs. Giants

0-1 vs. Padres

2. As you can see, the Cards have a bunch of NL Central games left on the menu; with 24 of 37 games against division brethren. Problem is, they’re 22-30 inside the NLC this season.

3. And they’re 10-17 in division road games.  And the Cardinals have 11 division road games left to play. (With 13 at home.) The breakdown, so far, for the Cardinals on the road in the NLC: 4-3 at Milwaukee, 3-4 at Pittsburgh, 2-5 at Cincinnati, 1-5 at Chicago.

The Cardinals haven’t bullied bad/mediocre teams this season. They’ve won more than they’ve lost against opponents that currently have a losing record, but it isn’t anything special. The Cards’ 30-25 record against losing teams (.545) ranks 10th in the NL. The STL mark against teams .500 or worse, 35-27, ranks 8th in the NL.

To this stage of the season — and it’s getting late — there’s little in the St. Louis record to back up the easy-ride schedule theory.

That is all.

This has been a public-service announcement.

Thanks for reading …

–Bernie

More: Miklasz – With the Cardinals Pitching Staff Reeling, Front-Office Inactivity is Inexcusable

  • LawrenceKScardsfan

    Exactly Bernie. The strength of schedule is a bogus stat. Games are decided on the field.

    Yes – it increases the probability that the Cardinals can win these games – but the question remains: Will they win the games?

    Speaking of sleep-deprived, I think Cardinal management hit the snooze on this team at the trade deadline. For some reason they believed:

    1) There weren’t any trades that would help this team at an acceptable cost (or value as DeWitt puts it) to the team. That doesn’t mean there weren’t trades out there that would help. Just not at the cost DeWitt was willing to entertain.

    2) This team couldn’t win with any trades – in spite of the “soft” schedule.

    3) They should keep their powder dry for the off season battles to come – meaning they plan to remake the team in the off-season.

    I believe number 3, if true, is truly a weak reason. The Cardinals have only acquired periphery players (Fowler, Leake, Cecil) in off season acquisitions. Their major trade of Miller for Heyward was a bust. Their attempts at recruiting a transformative player (Price) failed. I don’t know if they can really expect to achieve their goals without risk, and DeWitt’s formula for value is extremely risk-averse. They simply aren’t willing to take big gambles to succeed because the value assigned to such transactions never measures up to a “risk-free” move. That is, the forecasted value of a big transaction is less than the forecasted cost of a big transaction. Let’s face it – Cardinal management is not hamstrung by monies. It is hamstrung by its own conservative philosophy regarding risk.

    Where has this philosophy gotten us? It seemed to work well back when we had a Jeff Luhnow driven farm system. But today, as Bernie has pointed out, lots of the early mover advantages that gave the Cardinals an edge when using sabermetrics to quantify players have gone away. All the other teams have adopted them. This means they too are drafting better (or equally with the Cardinals). With the loss of this advantage, there is no magic bullet that offers a relatively risk free investment (value). And so our farm system has fallen in the rankings and we have no relievers or pitchers available to throw into this season’s pennant chase.

    We are facing a slide to mediocrity unless management accepts more risk. With more risk comes higher rewards. But if the moves fall on their face, a slide to mediocrity could be a rush to a non-contending bottom dwelling team.

    • JDinSTL

      I believe the Cardinals would be favored if their remaining games were with the Phillies, Royals, and Braves.

  • Richard Craig Friedman

    Padres must not have gotten the memo on the Cards easy schedule.

    • LawrenceKScardsfan

      lol

  • Tarzan

    I hope MO comes around during the offseason, because he appears to be paralyzed by the thought of making a meaningful trade – you know one that spends a great deal more of DeWitt’s money. He still has egg on his face by the 80-plus mill he spent on Leake and the 30-plus mill he spent on Cecil. Another chance of a snafu like those has to be keeping MO up at night. Let’s hope he is fervently looking for a middle of the lineup bat in the offseason, rather than going over logical excuses of why he was unable to acquire one.
    BTW: Can someone tell me exactly what Grisch’s role is on the team? Does he have any meaningful say or input on players they might be able to make a deal on? I highly doubt it.

    • rightthinker4

      Grisch doesn’t go the bathroom without the OK from MO! DeWitt and MO make the decisions. Grisch is the yes man.

    • silencedogoodreturns

      you can’t trade if the other team isn’t interested.

  • marisfan009

    I thought the three scary words Bernie was going to use were “Tommy John surgery.”

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  • I’m not sure who sucks worse, this Cardinal org, or the clowns who come here to consistently defend their incompetent front office, miserly owner, & strategically inept mgr.

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  • ken

    speaking of soft schedules…how can i get one like bernie’s?