What I wanted to do, though, was put an end to the argument that's crept up over the past week or so. For some reason, before Sunday, Cardinals fans grew particularly enamored of an 11-game split in judging their past performance. Why would that be? Well, the Cardinals were 9-2 in those games! It's not surprising that, suddenly, looking at a team's past 11 games (and now 12 games) would have become the most meaningful measure of information about a team!
The issue here is that these well-meaning Cardinals fans have employed an arbitrary end point to try to mask a more meaningful sample of data. Every end point is arbitrary, technically, but some — like a 16-game stretch, or one full season — are in common usage. No one's ever found any meaning related to a 11-game or 12-game sample.
You can probably guess what happened in the games before that. The Cardinals, in fact, only started that 10-2 streak after a six-game losing streak. If you look at their 12 previous games before the 10-2 stretch, the Cardinals were 3-9. And if I really want to be a dick and employ arbitrary end points myself, I'll note that the Cardinals were 3-15 in the 18 games before that 12-game stretch.