I remember right after the All-Star game looking at the Cardinals schedule and doing one a Take Three in The Fast Lane, saying that the Cardinals…at that point eight games over .500…could be 20 over and have the division wrapped up by September 1.
Indeed, the Cardinals were 23 over and 10.5 up by the time September 1 rolled around. But…I go back to that schedule. 31 games against Houston, Arizona, Washington, the Mets, Pirates, Reds and Padres. They went 22-9 in those games, and 6-4 in their ten against L.A. and Philadelphia. The Cardinals finished 20 games over .500, and 15 of that was accrued over the six week period from July 17-August 30.
So maybe the Cardinals were above average…they throttled the really bad teams…but were just OK against good teams. And when that all important sixth month hit, they went 13-13 and of course were bounced from the playoffs.
My point? Sometimes perception gets the best of us. Even though the Cardinals had really good players, they weren’t a great team…just a good one that took advantage of the schedule. They need more to win in 2010.