Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards Are Dominating Division

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards Are Dominating Division

Article excerpt

Not only do the Cardinals easily have the best record in the major leagues, but they are the only team to have winning records against each division in their own league and, a rarity for a National League team, an interleague advantage, too.

At 51-24 overall, the Cardinals are 8-7 in interleague play with five games remaining. They are 12-5 against the National League East, 9-4 against the West and, most significant, 22-8 against their Central Division brethren, including 16-3 at Busch Stadium.

Beating up on your own division is how teams win championships. Since the 2000 Central Division title, in every championship season but one the Cardinals have had a wide margin of success in their division.

Last year they were 45-31 in the division en route to the Central title. The year before it was 46-30.

In the Tony La Russa era, they were 46-34 in capturing the division title in 2009. The 2006 World Series championship year was an outlier because the Cardinals won only 83 games, three times having losing streaks of seven games or more, and they were 39-42 in their division.

But, in back-to-back 100-win seasons in 2004-2005, the Cardinals were 54-36 and 57-33, respectively, inside the division and they were 37-25 in 2000 when there were fewer games inside the division.

"That's what we're fighting for," said manager Mike Matheny. "We've got to start there. We've got to win that division. And it's a tough division. You watch how everybody else in the Central is playing the rest of the league."

With three teams over .500 in the Cardinals, Pittsburgh and the Chicago Cubs, the division has three of the top six records in the league and is plus-15 in wins/losses.

Matheny added that "I want to make sure that we're staying consistent. With whoever we're playing, we've got to go about it the same way. But, when it comes down to it, part of our goal shot has the Central Division on it and you've got to beat the teams inside of it. …

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