The 1941 St. Louis Browns set a record of 1334 men left on base (LOB). That’s 8.50 guys stranded per game.
This year, the Cardinals, Rangers and Cubs are challenging that record.
The Cardinals are leading baseball with men LOB with 242 in 28 games (prior to today’s game, which they left another 7 men on). This is an average of 8.64 runners per game and they are on pace for 1400 for the season. It’s really an astounding number for a team with a winning record, let alone in contention.
Texas is second with 236 in 27 games, 8.74 per game for a last place team. They are actually on pace for 1415, which is more than the Cardinals. They way the Rangers are playing, they need to score as many guys as the can.
Lastly, the Cubs have stranded 228 men in 26 games. This has them averaging 8.77 per game and totaling 1420 men stranded for the season.
Just for comparison, there have been 5918 men stranded total this year in 806 games; that’s an average of 7.34 per game. The average team will strand 1189.47 men for the season.
I’m leaving the Rangers behind so I can focus on the other 2; they are both fighting for the NL Central. The division could come down to these 2 teams, so every run will count. I’m also going to include the Brewers since it’s predicted to be a 3 horse race.
(The Brewers for the record have stranded 188 runners in 26 games, for 7.23 per game average. They are on pace for 1171 stranded for the season.)
Stranded base runners will be important in a tight division race – if the Cubs and Cards drop a lot of 1-run games, especially division games, it could cost them the post-season.
Here are the records for the 3 teams in 1-run games:
Here are the records in 2-run games:
If you were to assume that the Cubs dropped their number of stranded runners down by 1, the outcome of 1-run games barely changes since they only have lost one. The Cardinals on the other hand, could have tied up 4 additional games. Even if they split those games, that’s 2 additional wins. The Cardinals would then be 2 games up on the Cubs rather than tied for first.
Lower both by 2 runners per game, the Cubs have 1 additional win for sure, with 4 more potential wins; the Cardinals pick up 4 additional wins and 2 potential wins.
I really don’t think that either club will continue to strand men at this rate; I do think that every run counts and if they continue to leave men on base, the Brewers will pass both teams in the standings.