The Cincinnati Reds won their 10th in row today to pull 7.5 games ahead of the Cards. The Reds are looking like the Brewers of 2011. The Cards continued to fail in close games by losing in extra innings today, but don’t blame Trevor Rosenthal. If the Cards bullpen wouldn’t have blown so many games early in the year, these games wouldn’t be as magnified now. Getting rid of Victor Marte from the BP was another move in the right direction earlier in the week, but the Cards may have waited too long.
Still only 3.5 games out of a wildcard spot with 60 games to go is definitely doable. The problem is the Cards are going to have to beat out 2 teams ahead of them to get it. In all honesty, I think the Cards will need to win at least 90 games, which means they need to go 36-24 in the final 60. It might take more than that, but I think that’s the minimum.
Here are some not so fun facts. Since the ASB, the Cards are 8-8. In their 8 losses, they’ve lost game each by 2 runs or less. They’ve been outscored 31-19 in those games. In the 8 wins, they’ve outscored opponents 53-17. That’s tough to swallow, especially since the pitching has been so good, both from the SP and BP.
We’ve all heard the trade rumors surrounding Shelby Miller for James Shields of the Rays. If John Mozeliak makes that deal at this time, I have to think it’s more for next year than 2012. I just don’t see the need for another starter with the way Joe Kelly has pitched. In fact, it’s hard to really make a case to trade away any significant piece of the future for this year. Of course the Cards would like to catch the Reds, but I don’t see it happening regardless. The Reds have the easiest schedule in MLB the rest of the way, playing opponents who have a combined winning percentage of .461. To make a move for a chance at a one game playoff under the new wildcard rules is too risky.
I was in the crowd that gave up on the Cards in 2011 when they were 10.5 games out. If you weren’t, congratulations, you’d fit in the bed of my truck with the other 6 people that didn’t. The point is, 2011 was a comeback that had never happened in the history of MLB before, and likely won’t again for a long time. The new rules put in the place with the extra wild card will make it that much tougher for a team to snag one of those spots and advance to the LCS, much less the WS. The only thing that will save the Cards in 2012 in to go on a run like the Reds are currently doing, but the Cards will face opposing pitching from some great teams in the month of August that will make that almost impossible as well.
So, if we can all agree on a wildcard being the goal, I’m with you, but I’m not drinking any more of the Kool-Aid that fuels hope of winning the NLC. I had to make some adjustments over the last few weeks to clear out some bugs, but the comments are back on, so fire away.