Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Odds Not in Favor of No-Hit Cardinals

When the St Louis Cardinals were no-hit by Johan Santana of the New York Mets last Friday night (June 1), they became the first defending World Series champion to suffer that fate since Nolan Ryan (Texas Rangers) turned the trick against Tony LaRussa's Oakland A's, on June 11, 1990.  The Redbirds also became the twentieth MLB team to be no-hit in the current millennium, and the third already in 2012.

Out of the previous seventeen no-hit victims, six went on to play in the postseason (five division champions and one wild card).  Generally speaking, these playoff-bound teams were playing consistently well shortly before - and after - they were no-hit; unlike the Cardinals, who have been struggling for quite some time now.

Below is a summary of each team's remarkably consistent won-loss record - five games before the no-hitter - and five games after, along with their final won-loss record:

                                   W-L RECORD         W-L RECORD        OVERALL    
 Date        Team       5 GAMES PRIOR    5 GAMES AFTER    W-L RECORD  Final Standings

04/27/03      SF                      3-2                           3-2                     100-61             1st-NL West
06/11/03      NYY                   3-2                            4-1                     101-61             1st-AL East
05/18/04      ATL                    3-2                            3-2                      96-66             1st-NL East
04/17/10      ATL                    3-2                            2-3                      91-71            2nd - NL East*
05/09/10      TB                     2-3                            3-2                        96-66            1st-AL East
06/25/10      TB                     4-1                            3-2                       
10/06/10      CIN (NLDS)        3-2                            3-2**                     91-71          1st-NL Cent

Combined Totals:                21-14 (.600)             21-14 (.600)         575-396 (.592)
*NL Wild Card team (2010)
**2 losses occurred in postseason

Despite their overall success, none of these teams would go on to win the World Series, although the Yankees at least made it to the Fall Classic in 2003 - losing to the Florida Marlins in six games.  The remaining eleven teams that have been no-hit since 2000 (prior to 2012) had a composite won-loss record of 1221-1368 (.472); in other words, there was a good reason they were no-hit at least once* - they weren't very good!  Adding to that tradition of losing will more than likely include two teams that were no-hit earlier this year - the Seattle Mariners** (25-32) and the Minnesota Twins (21-33).

*Tampa Bay leads MLB's no-hit wonder list since 2000 (4 times), followed by San Diego (3 times).  Two-time losers include Baltimore, Atlanta, and the Chicago White Sox (Somehow, the Cubs have dodged the 21st century no-hit jinx).

**Actually, Seattle fell victim to Chicago White Sox hurler, Phil Humber's perfect game.

Whether it's merely coincidental that the playoff-bound no-hit victims were playing .600 ball, five games before and after the big event; which is consistent with their overall composite winning percentage (.592); but the Cardinals have been playing quite poorly as of late.  Injuries have played a large role in their recent slide; however, if they expect to qualify for postseason play, they've got to figure out a way to keep their key players in the lineup on a regular basis, going forward.

Otherwise, they're going to join the rest of the 21st century no-hit bunch - out of the postseason; hoping for better luck next year.


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