Our Cardinals Hits And Misses

Sometimes we’re right. Sometimes we’re wrong. Whether it’s our preseason predictions about the Cardinals or our general outlook for the team as the 2011 season went along, we had plenty to say from late March through late September.

Here’s a look back at the times where we deserve a pat on the back … and those times we totally missed the mark.

Preseason predictions

We all picked the Cardinals to win the NL Central, so that was a miss for everyone. As were most of our division/wild card picks. (Obviously we all had the NL wild card wrong.) The easy division pick was the Phillies winning the NL East — only Miranda didn’t pick them. Ann and I also correctly picked the Rangers for the AL West, and she picked the Rays for the AL wild card.

For the playoffs, four of the five of us had the Cardinals in the NLCS and all but Miranda had them facing the Phillies. (Her pick was the Braves.) I also made this brilliant statement about why the Phillies would win: “Just can’t see the Cards starters matching up with that Phillies rotation.” (Chris Carpenter, I’m sorry.)

Congrats to Miranda and Emily for both picking the Cardinals to be World Series champs! Even though the teams each has them beating — the Red Sox and the Twins — didn’t quite make it to October.

Cardinals predictions

We also gave some Cardinals-specific predictions. Ann was right on the money with their final record of 90-72. She also correctly predicted that Albert would be the team leader in home runs with 37. And while we all said he also would lead the team in RBI, we all expected another 100+ season — he ended with 99.

Not surprisingly, none of us guessed Tyler Greene would lead the team in stolen bases … with a grand total of 11. Our popular pick, Ryan Theriot, had four. And even though he might have been a TOOTBLAN victim a few times, he still would have been nowhere close to our picks.

Pitching-wise, I did predict the correct number of wins for Kyle Lohse: 14. I didn’t, however, think that would lead the team. Not surprisingly, we all picked Chris Carpenter to have the most victories. And, just like Ryan Franklin did, we all blew the saves leader category — we all picked him. However, I did say that Jason Motte also would have 14. He had nine in the regular season, but five in the postseason. Not that we were predicting postseason numbers!

We were like everyone else in not knowing what to expect from Lance Berkman when we made these predictions in late March, so all our guesses were off in predicting the number of games he’d play — he ended up playing 145.

Those things we said …

And now, some things we wrote during the last couple months.

I wrote this on Sept. 5 in “That Sliver Of Hope Gets Smaller“:

The Cardinals are 9 1/2 back. The Brewers magic number/Cards elimination number is 13. The Cardinals have 22 games left, including these three with the Brewers. They are 8 1/2 behind the Braves in the wild card race, with three games still left against them as well.

Impossible? Not necessarily, looking at the numbers.

Improbable? Well … basically, yes.

(Thankfully I added “basically” to that last one — so I wasn’t completely wrong, right?)

From a post titled “This Is The Way The Season Ends” that I wrote on Aug. 20:

The way the Cardinals have played lately brings to mind the ending of T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Hollow Men,” only describing this baseball season instead of the world:

This is the way the season ends
This is the way the season ends
This is the way the season ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

A whimper on the field, that is. Some fans still get irate, a few think there’s still a chance. Others just shrug — they’ve written this year off already.

I wrote this on Aug. 18 in “Sunshine and Rainbows and Allen Craig“:

It’s easy to complain about the Cardinals these days. Of course they’ve disappointed us, angered us, caused us to bitch to our friends and family and coworkers and Twitter pals. And I’m almost certain this year is going to end just like last: on the final day of the regular season.

(“Almost” never counts.)

From Tara’s “Taking The Bad With The Good — Cards Drop Series Opener At Home” on Aug. 10:

The 2011 Redbirds follow their own momentum-killing pattern and fail to do the one thing the Brewers are, in fact, better at — executing when it counts.

(Except when the NLCS arrived …)

But, give Tara credit for writing this on Aug. 25 (hmmmm, we’ve heard a lot about that day):

For those eternal optimists out there, our good friend and standing history buff Bob Netherton pointed out this week that the ’64 Cardinals made a late season run. And — for the superstitious among us — on August 24th,  47 years ago, that team was 11 games out of first, starting a series with … Pittsburgh.

Take that for what you will. I, for one, think it’s kind of fun.

(Yes, indeed!)

Finally, Miranda wrote this on Sept. 2, after the Cardinals swept the Brewers:

This is why you play this crazy game!

Stuff happens and miracles are pulled out!

Stuff does happen, miracles are pulled out — and we all had the chance to witness an unforgettable October.

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