Are Cardinals Being Exposed?
Are Cardinals Being Exposed?
By Wayne Root:
A couple of weeks ago, the St. Louis Cardinals were the toast of the National League. They had a record of 20-11, and everyone was marveling that they still looked like World Championship contenders even though slugging legend Albert Pujols was no longer with the team. But, heading into Sunday Night's nationally televised game with the Los Angeles Dodgers, it looks like the Cardinals have been exposed as a team that was exploiting a soft early schedule.
Since that 20-11 mark, the Cards are 2-7...which includes three straight home losses to the Atlanta Braves, and then two straight on the road in this current series with the Dodgers. To this point, Atlanta and LA are CLEARLY playing playoff caliber baseball. St. Louis is 0-5 vs. those teams.
What got the Cards off to a great start? An unbalanced schedule in the worst division in the National League! The Central Division has really struggled this year, sitting 18 games under .500 as a group through the games of Saturday Night. St. Louis, a team that may legitimately be the best team in that lousy group even if they don't measure up to Atlanta and LAD, got to play 27 of its first 28 games vs. divisional foes! Once they had to step out and play other teams, the losses started piling up.
This is something you should be thinking about very seriously as you watch tonight's Cardinals/Dodgers game on ESPN. I'm not saying St. Louis is going to lose every time they play a contender. There's too much parity in baseball for that. But, it's clear that the Cardinals may not be as good as everyone was thinking at first. And, starting on Thursday, the Cards will play 11 straight games against Philadelphia, Atlanta, and New York...teams from the much superior NL East (20 games over .500 through Saturday, with NOBODY having a losing record!).
I'm THE KING OF LAS VEGAS because I'm always ahead of the curve instead of trying to play catch up. I'm the only man in the wagering field who has a star on the Vegas "Walk of Fame." If an oddsmaker ever gets one, his will naturally be a few steps behind mine!
With that in mind, here's a quick listing of other teams who have benefitted or been hurt by early schedules...
The NY Mets have played 21 games within the very tough NL East so far. The Washington Nationals from that same division have only played eight. The Mets are two games behind Washington in the standings, but may be the better team with equalized schedules.
Arizona of the NL West has actually played 17 games against the East, while the Dodgers and Colorado have only played six apiece. The Diamondbacks may be more of a threat in the West than it looks like right now. They've only played six games so far against the lousy NL Central.
Boston is in last place in the AL East despite having played fewer games within that tough division than their cohorts. The Red Sox may be further off the pace than it seems at first glance.
Minnesota is off to a horrible start this year. But, much of that may be due to the fact that they've had to play 17 games against the tough AL East, but only six within their weak AL Central division. It's amazing how varied these early season schedules have been! I'm also known as THE KING OF UPSETS. I may have to put Minnesota on my list of live dogs once they play more divisional games. They're not as far behind their peers within that group as it seems.
A scary thought...Texas is the best team in the four-team AL West, and has only played nine games this year within the division. A 100-in season is a real possibility given the quality of the team and the edge they look to have over their divisional rivals.
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