Long Season. Long Game. Little Things.
And panic is going to make it seem longer. We’re about six weeks into the 2012 Major League Baseball season. As I sit at the keyboard, the Cards and Cubs are tied at 6-6 at Busch Stadium after an Alfonso Soriano home run. Four consecutive losses coming into today have some in Cardinal Nation searching for the panic button.
After a quick start, the Cardinals have hit a skid in recent days. All teams have little skids. That comes with the territory on a 162 game schedule. Keep in mind that the 2004 Cardinal team was just one game over .500 on May 18 of that year. The ’04 Cards were scuffling at this point in that spectacular season. That team was white hot through June, July and August and actually coasted through September before finishing with 105 regular season wins.
I’m not saying that this ’12 team is going to duplicate that. I do expect 90+ wins. Given the way the rest of the NL Central is, that should be enough to give us another Red October in St. Louis.
Part of this skid comes from catching a not-very-good Cub team playing as well as they can. Thing is, the Cubs cannot maintain this level of baseball for very long. They aren’t good enough at getting the little things right—witness Alfonso Soriano playing a Tyler Greene double into a triple. Soriano didn’t get a little thing right. Didn’t look like he was that enthusiastic about getting to the ball quickly. A little thing. Greene ran aggressively. Another little thing. Those little things add up. The Cubs got away with messing up that particular little thing, but the odds will catch up with them over the season.. Just in from Busch, Yadier Molina just singled in the winning run. 7-6 Cardinals.
The events of last September and October happened largely because the Cardinals did almost all of those little things right. Those little things add up over 162 games.