The Cardinals simply refuse to lose. The Redbirds won their 16th consecutive game Sunday, extending a franchise record since the club joined the National League in 1892. A team that was on the outside of the playoff picture looking in as September began now could clinch a postseason berth in the coming days.
Here are eight facts and stats about the Cardinals’ 16-game winning streak:
1. This win streak has, of course, changed the Cards’ postseason picture dramatically. They had just a 2.8% chance to make the playoffs on Sept. 7, according to FanGraphs’ playoff odds. Now, they’re on the verge of clinching. Those playoff odds go back historically to the 2014 season. In that span, only one team has made the playoffs after having single-digit odds to do so at any point in September: the 2019 Brewers. They were at 5.6% on Sept. 5, and ended up being the second Wild Card.
2. Where does the Cardinals’ streak rank in late-season lore? Glad you asked. Their 16-game win streak is tied with the 1909 Pirates for the third-longest streak in the months of September and October since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Of course, despite including October, that encapsulates only regular-season games.
The September win streaks the Cardinals are chasing on that list? Twenty-six by the 1916 Giants, the longest overall win streak in MLB history -- all of which occurred in September. There’s also a 21-game streak from the 1935 Cubs.
3. Of course, if the Cardinals were to extend this streak into that territory, we’d be talking about the overall win streaks record list, not just September/October-only. Another thing we might be talking about? The longest season-ending winning streaks. The Cardinals are at 16 straight right now. It’s still a while away, but if they won out, that would be 22 straight games. That would shatter the record for the longest season-ending win streak by a team that made the postseason, which is currently 15 by the 1960 Yankees, in case you were curious, according to Elias. Only one other team has won 15 or more to end a season, postseason-bound or not: the 1887 Phillies, who won 16 straight to end the year, long before the first World Series in 1903. The team actually went by the Quakers at the time.
4. Another remarkable part of this streak is that the Cardinals have won 11 straight road games within it. And not any 11 road games, but their final 11 of the season. Only one other team in MLB history has won its final 11 or more road games, according to Elias: that 1887 Philadelphia squad. Those final 11 road games came against the Indianapolis Hoosiers, Detroit Wolverines, Pittsburgh Alleghenys (now the Pirates) and New York Giants.
5. How difficult had it been for the Cardinals to win 16 games earlier this year? At one point this season, from May 30-July 18, it took St. Louis 40 games to win 16. Now, they’ve taken … 16 games to win 16. Wild. Thanks to MLB.com's Andrew Simon for pointing this one out.
7. O’Neill hasn’t been the only Cardinals player going yard. In fact, they’ve hit 31 homers over the course of the win streak. That’s the most home runs by the Cardinals in any 16-game span since 2017. The only other team with at least that many home runs over a 16-game span with all of those games being wins is the 2017 Indians, during their historic streak.
8. Home runs by Harrison Bader and Paul Goldschmidt in Sunday's win raised the Cardinals' overall September total to 47, a new franchise record for the most hit in the September/October portion of a regular season (and there's still a week left to play). The previous club record was 45, set by McGwire's Redbirds in 1998.