During the All-Star Break, I set up a little contest to see who would be able to guess the second half of the Cardinals’ season the best. We had 64 folks give it a shot and, now that the season has wrapped up, it’s time to look back and see who gets the bragging rights. Let’s go over the questions and then we’ll reveal the winner.
The questions in the first section were worth two points each:
1) Where will the Cardinals finish in the division? The answer, obviously was second, something 46 of the 64 picked. Given where the Cards were at the All-Star Break, this wasn’t a huge surprise.
2) When will Matt Carpenter return? There were four time frames listed, basically 15 day increments from the beginning of August until mid-September. Carpenter returned basically as soon as he could, the August 1-15 option, which made 27 of our 64 extra happy.
3) Who will hit more home runs in the second half, Matt Adams or Stephen Piscotty? Even with Adams being hurt some in the second half and Piscotty playing everyday, this was a little closer than possibly some thought. The 55 that picked Stephen Piscotty were correct, as he had 11 to Adams’s 6.
4) Who will have the better second half OPS, Kolten Wong or Randal Grichuk? You can argue why this was the case, whether it was the stallion finally getting a chance to roam or Wong getting buried, but 46 accurately saw that Randal Grichuk (.826) would out-OPS Kolten Wong (.746).
5) Will Adam Wainwright have an ERA under 3.25 in the second half? There was a lot of faith in the nominal staff ace and sadly, that faith wasn’t justified. Only 12 of our respondents correctly selected no on this one, as his ERA was actually 4.79.
6) Will the Cardinals make the playoffs? Unsurprisingly, given that we were asking Cardinal fans, this also had a low accuracy rate. 20 folks were right when they said no, the Cards wouldn’t be playing postseason baseball.
7) Will John Mozeliak make at least one trade that sends out someone currently on the MLB roster? The only trade at a very quiet deadline was the acquisition of Zach Duke, which only required minor leaguer Charlie Tilson. Surprisingly, only 10 saw this being a no answer.
8) Will Tyler Lyons appear in more than 18 games for St. Louis in the second half? The Patron Pitcher’s injury kept this from being a fair fight. Obviously, given that he was out much of the time after the break, the answer was no, something 13 got correct.
9) Will Tommy Pham stay off the DL the entire second half? I guess it’s easier to stay healthy when you don’t get a lot of playing time. Even given Pham’s injury history, 17 were right when they said yes, he’d be active the entire span.
10) Will Matt Holliday hit over .270 for the second half? Again, injury played some role here, though it’s hard to know how much given Holliday’s season as a whole. Even his dramatic last weekend only bumped his second half average to .264, so 29 were right when they said no.
The questions got a little more difficult when we entered the four-point territory.
11) How many games will the Cardinals win in the second half? There were 74 games left when we closed this contest and St. Louis won 40 of them, a fact only eight folks got right.
12) How many home runs will Brandon Moss hit in the second half? I don’t think anyone expected the terrible slump Moss had to close the year, but five people did correctly guess Moss would go deep 11 times.
13) How many blown saves will the Cards have in the second half? The bullpen had been shaky, with 10 blown saves in the first half. The second half was a little better with just 7, something 11 folks picked.
14) How many games will Yadier Molina catch at least part of in the second half, within 1? As far as I can tell, if Molina played over the second half, he caught, whether he started the game or came in later on. He appeared in 65 of the 74 remaining games. I’m not sure which is crazier, that stat or the fact that 12 people had a correct answer of 64, 65, or 66.
15) How many one-run games will the Cardinals win in the second half? I tallied this one up by hand and came up with 16, which only two people guessed. We talk about the games that kept the Cards out of the postseason, but some of these probably were why they were close in the first place.
Our final section had all the questions worth five points.
16) Within three, how many walks will Trevor Rosenthal have in the second half? Rosie didn’t throw nearly as many innings as we thought, going on the DL soon after the All-Star Break. Still, two people got the within three of the actual answer of 6. Perhaps they were expecting an injury or just really optimistic.
17) How many saves will Seung-hwan Oh have in the second half? It was a solid season all the way around for Oh and he acquired 17 of his saves from mid-July on, a fact only one person saw coming.
18) Within 5, how many strikeouts will Carlos Martinez have in the second half? Martinez was a bright spot all year long and he registered 83 strikeouts over the time span in question. Seventeen people were able to pick an answer that fell into that range.
19) How many home runs will the Cardinals hit in the second half, within 2? St. Louis put 108 over the boards after the break, a fact three people got credit for. Remember when there were entire seasons the Cards couldn’t hit that many?
20) Within 10, how many batters will Alex Reyes face in the big leagues? We had a big range on this because there was no real telling when or if Reyes would make it to the bigs around the break. He arrived sooner than many expected and faced 164 major league batters. Amazingly, one person got credit for this!
21) How many saves will Kevin Siegrist and Jonathan Broxton combine for in the second half? Thankfully, Oh stayed healthy and effective, meaning these two weren’t out there to get the final outs often. They wound up with 2 saves, an answer selected by seven people.
The tiebreaker was Aledmys Diaz’s batting average in the second half. Whether due to injury or other reasons, Diaz put up a .257 mark, which was actually lower than any answers on any scorecards.
So here’s the top nine finishers, in reverse order!
And our overall winner……………..
1) Larry Price
I can’t find a Twitter account for Mr. Price, so hopefully he’ll see this. If you want to see where you wound up or which questions you got right, the spreadsheet is below. Thanks for participating and maybe we’ll do it again next year!