With 54 games left in the season, the St. Louis Cardinal’s hold a 9.5 game deficit to the Chicago Cubs. Is there still time to catch the Cubs, or will they have to be complacent with a Wild Card?
54 games seems like a lot of games, but in order to overcome an almost 10 game deficit and catch the Cubs, it really isn’t that much. For a chance to win the division the Cardinals must start playing phenomenally, and the Cubs have to start playing poorly. Although possible, how likely is it?
When this topic comes up, the first thing that comes to mind is the 2011 Cardinals magical comeback to catch the Atlanta Braves. With 31 games left in the season, the team was 11.5 games back. At the time it seemed almost improbable, but somehow the team was able to pull back and grasp a wild card slot. I know I know, the two teams are almost completely different; just because the 2011 team did it doesn’t mean the 2016 team will. All this does is go to show that even though things look dim there is still a chance.
I wish I could put forth some type of percentage about the likelihood the Cardinals come back, but I can’t. Such a thing doesn’t exist, at least anything with any true merit. The truth is, anything could happen. The Cubs have had plenty of losing streaks throughout the season, and with 54 games left who knows how they will conclude. Same thing with the Cardinals; who knows how they will play to finish the season? The only thing that will prove or even suggest whether not the Cardinals will comeback is time. But just taking a quick glance at how things are, it doesn’t look all too promising.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) August 4, 2016
9.5 games back
54 games left in the season
If the Cardinals hope to win the division, they have a lot of work to do in not a lot of time. It’s not impossible, but it is pretty drastic. If you don’t believe me let you lay out a scenario. Lets say the Cubs, currently holding a record of 66-41, go .500 to end their season. This means they would end their season with a record of 93-69. That would be considered pretty bad for the Cubs, a team who currently holds a .617 win percentage. The Cardinals are currently 57-51. In order to match the Cubs record of 93-69, the the Cardinals would have to go 36-18. That means the team would have to hold a win percentage of .666 for the rest of the season. So even if the Cubs finish their season in a pretty bad way, the Cardinals would have to win two out of three games.
Once again, I’m not saying that catching the Cubs isn’t possible, just that many things would have to go the Cardinal’s way.
But based on 2011, it may be the “Cardinal’s Way” to have things go the Cardinal’s way.
As a fan, I think it’s time to start excepting a one game wild-card playoff to see whether the Cardinals can progress through the playoffs. The attitude of “maybe the Cardinals can still win the division” is almost over, which is a little depressing. What’s good though, is that the team is currently tied for the second wild-card slot. What’s bad is that there is no guarantee that they will secure it. But with Matt Carpenter, the teams best batter, coming off the DL soon, there’s a good chance they will do better than they have recently.
As a player on the team (I am obviously not one), I wouldn’t take my eyes off the division title just yet. Keeping your goals set high is never a bad thing, unless a goal is completely out of the question. At the current time, the team should play every game as if they must overcome a 8.5 game deficit in order to make the playoffs. Later into the season, if this suddenly feels like an impossibility, then sights can be changed, but for now the team needs every motivation they can to win ballgames.