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The Good News: The Cardinals Have Left Home For a While

After closing out their recent road trip with six wins in seven games, the Cardinals seemingly brought some momentum home to Busch Stadium.

Nah. We got fooled again.

In another mess of a home stand, the Cardinals went 2-4 against the Mets and A’s.

mike matheny 2
Matheny’s 30-37 home record ranks 27th among the 30 teams.

If you’re keeping score…

* The Cardinals’ 30-37 home record (.448) ranks 27th among the 30 teams. The only teams to stumble more often at home in 2016 are the hopeless also-rans in Minnesota, Arizona and Atlanta. Since the franchise moved into the second version of Busch Stadium in 1966, the Cards’ current home winning percentage would be the fourth lowest (as in “worst”) over the last 51 seasons. The 1994 Cardinals had a .411 win pct. in a season cut short (114 games) by a labor dispute. The 1970 and 1990 Cardinals each posted a .420 winning percentage at home. The 2016 Cardinals are next at .448. That’s your bottom four.

* The Cardinals have lost nine of their last 13 series at home. They have not won a home series from a winning team since taking two of three from San Francisco at the beginning of June. After that brief triumph the Cardinals have lost their last six series at home against teams that came in with records of .500 or better.

* Overall this season the Cardinals are a sickly 9-24 at Busch against opponents that currently have a winning record.

That .273 success rate is the worst among the 30 teams in home winning percentage against opponents with winning records. Between 2012 and 2015, the Cardinals had the best mark in the majors (85-51, .625) in home games vs. winning opponents.

* There’s been a similar downturn in home performance in games against opponents that are .500 or poorer this season. Between 2012 and 2015 the Cardinals pummeled such teams for a 125-63 record, good for a .665 winning percentage. And this year? The Cardinals are only 21-13 (.617) at Busch against opponents that are .500 or below.

* In 2016 the Cardinals already have lost more series at home, 14, than the 2014 and 2015 teams combined (13.)

* Starting pitching continues to be a negative for the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Between 2009 and 2015, the Cards’ rotation had a 3.09 Busch ERA over the seven-season stretch and delivered a quality start in 64.5 percent of the home games. This season the rotation has a 4.11 home ERA and a quality-start rate of 53.7 percent.

The last six games offered familiar scenes for anyone that’s paid to attend games at Busch Stadium this season.

Erratic starting pitching … stone-hands defense … goofy base running … homers on offense (but not much else) … bullpen blow-ups … forehead-slapping managing … getting shut down by no-name pitchers … and an inexplicable malaise that makes no sense for a team that supposedly has so much excellent leadership that the Post-Dispatch was inspired to publish not one — but two — pieces on Sunday, exalting the team for its dynamic leadership.

Evidently that sensational leadership kicks in on the road … and only on the road.

And the Cardinals will be away for a while.  They’ve left home.

The Cardinals have put up 38-24 road record (.613) that’s No. 1 in the majors this season.

They lead MLB in road runs per game (5.58) road homers (1.58), and road slugging percentage (.464).

Whenever the home blues bring them down, the Cardinals constantly– and instantly — reinvent themselves on the road. But here’s a question: can they keep it up? They don’t have a choice here. Not in a tightening NL wild-card race.

The Roadbirds start a three-city, nine-game road trip tonight; it begins in Milwaukee and takes them to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

After slinking into Busch for four games against Milwaukee followed by three vs. the Cubs the Cardinals pack up again for a 10-game trek to San Francisco, Colorado and Chicago.

So that means 19 of the next 26 games will be played hundreds of miles away from Busch Stadium.

The bad news?

The Cardinals end the regular-season schedule with seven games at Busch, with four vs. Cincinnati and three against Pittsburgh.

Thanks for reading …

–Bernie 

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