Cardinals news from a Sabermetric point of view

Recap: Cardinals 2, Reds 1 (10 innings)

Thoughts on last-night’s win while hoping that Meatstick Jr.’s success leads to a barehanded batting renaissance:

  • Did we mention how much we like the Beltran signing?
  • The Reds deserved to lose for having Brandon Phillips sac bunt on a 3-1 count in the eighth inning with runners on first and second and down by a run. Phillips is one of the team’s best hitters, bad leg or not. He may lead off, but it’s the equivalent of David Freese or Carlos Beltran sac bunting in that scenario. As it turned out, a strange sequence of ironic plays ensued. As if to justify the Reds’ bunt strategy, Phillips eventually lined into a double play. But the next batter, rookie Zach Cozart, laced a run-scoring single, anyway.
  • Marc Rzepczynski earned his stripes by striking out Joey Votto with the go-ahead run on first in the eighth. It only registered as a 1.78 leverage index showdown, but given Votto’s prowess, one could easily double that.
  • If he keeps pitching like this, Kyle Lohse may require us to write an apology to John Mozeliak.
  • Rick Hummel continues to perpetuate the fiction that pitcher win-loss records are meaningful, observing what to many people must seem incongruent: “Lohse … remained at 2-0 although his earned-run average shrank to 0.89.” This, after spilling a few hundred words on Dan Descalso’s error — something over which Lohse had almost no control. Not to be outdone, Hummel’s colleague Joe Strauss featured Lohse’s lack of a decision as wanting of “justice” in just his third ‘graf.
  • According to Hummel, Daniel Descalso “felt terrible” about his error “because it cost Lohsie a win.” Seems to us that the more appropriate reason is that it almost cost *the team* a win. Strauss quotes Mike Matheny as saying “It’s just a shame we couldn’t get him a ‘W’ out of that.” What’s a shame is how people relentlessly cling to an outmoded stat that they regularly implicitly acknowledge as unjust. Apparently some fans and sportswriters aren’t the only hidebound observers of the game.
  • Speaking of misunderstood stats, Hummel’s article included this humdinger: “The Cardinals stranded 14 but nevertheless won…” We love the Commish and his P-D mates, but someone at the copy-editor’s desk needs to keep some of this stuff from going public.
  • The P-D isn’t the only culprit: MLB.com Jennifer Langosch relies on the “RISP” trope not once but twice, pointing out that the Cardinals “went hitless in nine chances with runners in scoring position” and “went hitless in seven chances with runners in scoring position in the first four innings.”
  • Kudos to Lohse, who, in addition to pitching a 65-FIGS game, alone speaks with any sense: “Bottom line: I did my job and we ended up winning the ballgame. That’s good enough for me.”
  • If FIGS isn’t your thing, another way to give the starting pitcher meaningful credit is his game tERA, FIP and xFIP. Lohse registered 2.40, 1.62 and 2.61, respectively.
  • In so far preventing his starters from reaching 100 pitches this season, Matheny might be the anti-Dusty Baker.
  • Just because the starters haven’t thrown many pitches, it doesn’t mean that they’re not pitching innings. The starters have averaged six innings pitched per game and have averaged 87 pitches per start. For the 2011 season, the rotation averaged 95 pitches and a little more than six innings.

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