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United Cardinal Bloggers roundtable: Statistical story of the year?

[Today's United Cardinal Bloggers roundtable question comes from yours truly. We particularly enjoyed how well Christine Coleman's response reflects her awareness of our peccadilloes.]
The Cardinals punctuated their memorable season with a variety of compelling statistics, ranging from the prodigious (Pujols’s three home runs in Game 3 of the World Series), the unexpected (Kyle Lohse’s career-best 3.67 FIP), the ugly (seven-game losing streak) and the breathtaking (Freese’s WPA in Game 6). What was one of your favorite statistical stories of 2011 and why?
Tie between Pujols Game 3 and Freese in Game 6.
– Daniel Solzman
Mine was winning 90 games… one more than Atlanta to win the Wild Card.
– Tom Knuppel
Interestingly, it seems easier to come up with the statistical stories that I didn’t like than the ones that I did.  The failure of Albert Pujols to hit his benchmarks and continue his streak, the high number of blown saves from early in the year, or the fact that I think someone just now hit into yet another double play.
I think the statistics that stood out to me were how well the offense clicked.  It wasn’t always steady and it could be short circuited by those double plays, but the team finished (in all of baseball) fifth in runs, third in OBP, and fifth in OPS.  They also did this without an over-reliance on the long ball, finishing 13th in that category.  It would seem that whatever Mark McGwire’s philosophy is, he’s able to teach it to the hitters and they’ve picked up on it.
– Daniel Shoptaw, C70 At The Bat
For me, the most important statistic is the 2.15 ERA posted by Carpenter in September. Simply put, we don’t get anywhere in the postseason if he doesn’t do that.
His entire ERA from September 1st through the postseason was a shocking 2.63. Pretty amazing for a 36 year-old who pitched 250+ innings.
There just hasn’t been a competitor like Carpenter in a Cardinal uniform since Gibson, and I love the guy for it. My dream would be to see Carp’s statue outside Busch, or an honorary retirement of his number. To me, he’s one of the greatest Cards I’ve had the pleasure of watching in my lifetime.
– Ray DeRousse, stlcardinalbaseball.com
I agree with Carpenter being in a small elite group, but I would also put 
Joaquin Andujar – Aug 12 to end of ’82 season, 7-0 with a 1.64 ERA, Cards 10-1 
in those 11 starts, plus another 3-0 in postseason with an ERA around 2, John 
Tudor 20-1 from June 3, 1985, 1.39 ERA  5 shutouts in September and maybe even 
Danny Cox in that conversation.  Still, Chris Carpenter is something special and 
the Bob Gibson comparisons are totally justified.  For that reason, Chris 
Carpenter is my favorite among the current group of Cardinals.
It will be interesting to see the retire 29 discussion start up after his 
retirement.  Something still needs to be done for Curt Flood and Willie McGee, 
but I digress.
My favorite stat is everybody’s favorite punching bag, Kyle Lohse, 14-8 with a 
career low ERA of 3.39. From August 28, Lohse was 3-0 (Cards 4-1 overall) with 
an ERA of 1.64.   Heck, he was 6-1 (Cards 8-2 overall) since his July dead arm 
troubles went away.   The only thing I didn’t like about Lohse’s season was that 
he didn’t go deep into games and put a bit of a load on the bullpen, but he 
threw some great games in the last two months of the season (at Philadelphia, 
Chicago at home).   Yes, his contract is insanely generous, but it is time to 
give Kyle Lohse a break :).
– Bob Netherton
Here’s my statistic – games played. LaRussa has been lambasted constantly throughout the years for not playing the youngsters. Yet this year, the games played statistic looks like this:
10 – Colby Rasmus – 94
9 – David Freese – 97
8 – Skip Schumaker – 117
7 – Matt Holliday – 124
6 – Ryan Theriot – 132
5 – Yadier Molina – 139
4 – Lance Berkman – 145
3 – Albert Pujols – 147
2 – Daniel Descalso – 148
1 – Jon Jay – 159
Now, obviously this is not a be-all end-all statistic. However, how many fans could have picked Danny D out of a lineup before this year? I don’t care how many of *us* would know, I imagine many of the average fans would not. Despite being one of the youngest players on the team, Descalso logged an awful lot of innings and positions this year (even as a late-inning substitute third baseman – I believe Derrick Goold called it a “defensive save”).
Just seemed intriguing to me that none of the opening day roster logged as many outings as the two that were mentioned as being bounced in and out of AAA the past year or two.
– Angela Weinhold, DiamondDiaries.net
Well sure, Carp’s finish doesn’t compare to those examples… But weren’t we talking about stats from this year only??
– Ray DeRousse
I think I would have to go with “11″. 11 wins in the post season, 11th Championship in ’11. Carpenter had 11 wins during the regular season and Pujols had 11 hits versus Milwaukee in the NLCS. The Cards won game six of the World Series in the 11th inning. I am sure there are other “11″s that could be found if one were to go searching (for instance, the Cards gave up 11 runs to the Rangers through the first three games of the World Series), but I don’t have that kind of time. So, I am going with the 11th Championship in ’11.
– JE Powell, STL: Fear the Red
Oh, I see what you’re focusing in on … My Gibson comparison.
Sure, those guys had great numbers, but I’m talking about being a competitor. In a tough, must-win game, I want Carp on the mound more than just about any other pitcher I can think of.
– Ray DeRousse, 
stlcardinalbaseball.com
For the record, all three of those guys were as big game as Gibson and Carpenter :) I would welcome any arguments of disagreement later tonight when I get the article posted.
– Bob Netherton the Carpenter Fan
I agree with all that Ray wrote about Chris Carpenter, and would further add in his record for October: 4-0 (although wins are probably not the kind of stat Pip was looking for!)
– Christine Coleman, Aaron Miles’ Fastball
.912 OPS, 153 OPS+
Those are Matt Holliday’s numbers for the 2011 season.
.906 OPS, 150 OPS+
Those are Albert Pujols’ numbers for the 2011 season.
Yes, it was a down season for Pujols offensively, by his own mammoth standards – but he still finished in the top five of NL MVP voting.
So what does that say about Holliday’s year at the plate?  Why is there a group of folks that still want to lambast the guy as if he’s just showing up and doing nothing?  In my opinion, the Cardinals are getting exactly what they’ve paid for out of Holliday, perhaps even more value-wise.  It’s really unfortunate he lost as much time as he did to injuries in 2011.

Oh, and just for good measure, to address the silly “clutch” argument – Holliday also outhit Pujols with runners in scoring position, RISP with two outs, late and close, and in high leverage at-bats.

This is my favorite 2011 statistical story – Matt Holliday is good at baseball, consistently, and I wish more Cardinal fans would appreciate him as such.
– Pitchers Hit Eighth (Nick), http://www.pitchershiteighth.com
Which is interesting since he should have ended up 3th or maybe 4th on his own team.  We were just talking about the 1979 MVP voting – spooky.    Post-season awards are turning into American Idol – it doesn’t matter what the players really did, it’s their celebrity or freak status.  #pffffffffffffffffffffft
So what does that say about Holliday’s year at the plate?  Why is there a group of folks that still want to lambast the guy as if he’s just showing up and doing nothing?  In my opinion, the Cardinals are getting exactly what they’ve paid for out of Holliday, perhaps even more value-wise.  It’s really unfortunate he lost as much time as he did to injuries in 2011.
I am TOTALLY on board with this line of discussion.  Matt Holliday has consistently contributed since he put the Cardinals uniform on (well, there were a couple of dropped balls, so nobody’s perfect).   Yeah, he got hurt at the end of the season.  Guess who else did, Orlando Freakin’ Cepeda in 1967 and he was a near no-show in 1968, but the Cardinals don’t go anywhere without him, and he’s in the Hall of Fame.   Yeah, Matt Holliday is pretty darn good at baseball.  He also came back a couple of days after laparoscopic  surgery when everybody was pretty much firing blanks except for Allen Craig.   Great call, Nick.
Oh, and just for good measure, to address the silly “clutch” argument – Holliday also outhit Pujols with runners in scoring position, RISP with two outs, late and close, and in high leverage at-bats.
This is my favorite 2011 statistical story – Matt Holliday is good at baseball, consistently, and I wish more Cardinal fans would appreciate him as such.
Honking for Holliday, coming to a t-shirt near you :).
Bob Netherton

2 Responses to “United Cardinal Bloggers roundtable: Statistical story of the year?”

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