The 2006 St. Louis Cardinals were the last team with a losing road record to win the World Series. Could the 2019 Chicago Cubs follow?
It definitely doesn’t look positive right now given the Chicago Cubs road woes, but all they have to do is make the postseason. I mean, anything can happen right? Just look back to the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals who finished with a 34-47 road record and 83-78 overall record. That team finished 1st in the National League Central with the rest of the teams generally underperforming as well.
That sounds awfully familiar doesn’t it? The 2019 Cubs entered Sunday tied for first place with the Cardinals and an overall record 65-58. PECOTA, who predicted the Cubs to win just 79 games at the beginning of the season, projects them to finish the rest of their season with a 21-18 record, which would be good for an 86-76 record.
Back to that ’06 Cardinals team. In late May, they had jumped out to a 31-16 record and looked poised to runaway with the division but lost starting pitching Mark Mulder for the season and both Jim Edmonds and David Eckstein missed a ton of playing time in the second half. The team also had key players underperforming in Jason Marquis (6.02 ERA), Yadier Molina (batted 0.216), and Jason Isringhausen (blew 10 saves).
All of that rings true with this year’s Cubs team. They’ve had several players well below their career averages, starters not pitching to their normal caliber, and their bullpen has been shaky at best including 10 blown saves since the All-Star Break.
The 2006 Cardinals beat the San Diego Padres in the NLDS, New York Mets in the NLCS, and the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. It was the most unlikely scenario given the team’s final standing and road woes. In fact, their 0.516 winning percentage is the lowest ever for a World Series winner.
The Cubs will need to figure out a way to make it into the postseason. Yes, they have had their problems on the road and haven’t won a road series since the middle of May. However, all they have to do is secure a playoff spot and really anything can happen.