Home Sweet Home?

Redbirds fans are widely considered to be among the most faithful in the Major Leagues. Whether it's an 105 degree afternoon start in the dog days of summer or a drizzly Tuesday evening in early April, Busch Stadium will be filled with a sea of Cardinal red. The Cardinals have drawn the second most fans to their ballpark this season (2,739,713) which is more than the Yankees, Giants, Nationals, and Red Sox who all pull from a significantly larger surrounding population than the St. Louis metro area. If you were to COMBINE the season attendance totals of the Tampa Bay Rays AND Oakland A's you would still fall about 400,000 short of Cardinals Nation.... And this is why the Cardinals home record this season is even more confounding.

With last night's debacle against the Mets in the books, the Cardinals sit with a 29-35 record at Busch Stadium this season. Improbably, they are still clutching on to a NL Wild Card spot and if they were to make the playoffs and maintain their home field disadvantage throughout the rest of the regular season, we would witness a truly obscure occurrence.

Let's breakdown the numbers for a moment:

  • The Cardinals Home Winning % this season is 0.453 (29-35).
  • If you extrapolate that out over the remaining 17 home games this season, the Cardinals would win 7.7 more games... let's round up and call it 8 more home wins in the 2016 regular season. That would bring their number of home wins for the season to 37 wins.
  • Assuming that the Redbirds continue to dominate on the road at the same torrid pace they have thus far this season, they would win 86 total games this season and could very feasibly hold on to a Wild Card spot. Keep in mind that the World Series winning 2006 Cardinals finished with only 83 wins.
  • So, IF the Cardinals keep pace and make the playoffs with only 37 home wins, they would by far have the lowest total of home wins of any playoff team since 1969 when the MLB introduced the AL & NL Championship Series (excluding the strike-shortened 1981 season which due to some bizarre rulings saw the Kansas City Royals make the playoffs with a 50-53 season record and only 19 home wins total)
  • Since 1969, the Cardinals have made the playoffs 16 times. Of those seasons, 2011 squad had the worst home record with only 45 wins at Busch during the regular season. That's still over 20% more home wins than the 2016 Cardinals are projecting towards.
  • Since 1969, the 2001 Atlanta Braves possess the lowest total of home wins of any playoff team with a home record of 40 - 41. (.494)
The Cards will face the A's, Cubs, Reds, Pirates, and Brewers at home over the rest of the regular season. Of those teams, only the Cubs have a winning road record in 2016 so one would assume that the Cardinals should be able to win at a clip of better than .453 at Busch the rest of the way. With that said, even if they dramatically improve their home winning percentage over the next 5 weeks and go 10 - 7 at home and clinch a Wild Card spot, they will still finish with the worse home record of a playoff team over a 162 game season in the modern playoff era.

Tonight Luke Weaver makes his Busch Stadium debut for the Redbirds... I wonder if the rookie likes home cooking?