Cardinals news from a Sabermetric point of view

Recap: Cardinals 10, Pirates 7

Thoughts on how an ugly win is still a win:

  • With a net WPA gain of .073, the stolen-base WPA seesaw swings back to “worth it”!
  • It’s one thing to have Jon Jay sac bunting in the first inning against Zack Greinke. It’s quite another with Charlie Morton. Way to short-circuit a possible multiple-run inning. You’re killing us, Mike.
  • The thing is, Jay is a really good bunter (good enough to bunt for base hits — when the other team isn’t expecting it, of course).
  • Why did the right-handed Allen Craig start at first base over Matt Carpenter? Because he’s there?
  • So does Matt Holliday intentionally hit into the 2nd-base hole there in the third inning? It’s hard to tell from his violent swing.
  • Carlos Beltran had a three-true-outcomes game. Only problem was that he only had walks and strikeouts.
  • With two home runs on four fly balls, Adam Wainwright now has the dubious distinction of “leading” the majors in HR/FB%, with 33.3%. League average so far this year is only 10.5%, so look for Wainwright to regress to the mean.
  • Yadier Molina was a little sloppy behind the dish in the eighth inning, not getting in blocking position and letting a runner advance to third with a six-run lead. That lead quickly shrank to three.
  • Speaking of leads of three, Mike Matheny brought in Jason Motte for a Robb Nen save. Three of his four saves this year have been Nens (three-run leads with none on in the ninth inning). Why does that matter? According to Bill James in his New Bill James Historical Baseball abstract,

    Each run saved in a tie game has more than eight times the impact of a run saved with a three-run lead. If you use your relief ace to save a three-run lead in the ninth inning, you’ll win that game 99% of the time. If you don’t use your ace in that situation, you’ll win 98% of the time. So is that a smart thing to do, to use a precious asset in that situation?”

  • While we’re not a big fan of the goatee, we have to admit that Waino looks acceptably like John Smoltz.
  • Fernando Salas, you need to retire more people than you walk in a relief appearance.
  • Jon Jay went opposite way in all four plate appearances, including his two bunts.
  • Speaking of opposite way, David Freese hit an opposite-field home run, Yadier Molina almost always goes to right, and Rafael Furcal and Matt Holliday had opposite-field hits. Are the Cardinals the best opposite-field-hitting team in baseball?
  • Why were Cardinals double stealing in the seventh inning with Yadier Molina? We’re not sure the ends (Molina stole third and scored on the catcher’s throwing error) justifies the means there.
  • Reporters of course were duty bound to lead with the fact that Adam Wainwright “won” the game — to wit: “Adam Wainwright, looking for his first win after Tommy John surgery” (MLB TV) and “Wainwright’s a winner again: Cardinals starter gains first victory since 2010 to cap his comeback from elbow surgery” (Post-Dispatch) — but the irony is that it wasn’t close to his best-pitched game of the season:
    Date TBF IP BB SO HR FIGS
    24-Apr 24 6 1 7 0 65
    7-Apr 22 5 2/3 1 6 1 51
    1-May 26 7 1 6 2 38
    19-Apr 23 5 1 5 2 33
    13-Apr 18 3 2 3 2 25
  • As he has shown in the last week, Skip Schumaker can get to the ball to his right. See, he knows how to field the ball, he just doesn’t know how to flip the ball, and that’s really the most important part of the play, the flipping. Anybody can just field them.

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