Cardinals news from a Sabermetric point of view

Recap: Braves 7, Cardinals 4

If you say Lance Lynn lost his first game, to quote Jeannie Bueller, you lose a testicle:

  • Rafael Furcal led off two more innings by getting on base. He now has a .503 OBP when leading off an inning. The Cardinals are second in the league in runs scored. The two statistics are not coincidental.
  • Despite the walks and the outcome, Sunday’s game was far from Lynn’s worst start of the year:
    Date Opp TBF HR SO BB FIP
    2-May PIT 24 0 6 1 1.63
    14-Apr CHC 22 0 5 2 2.23
    7-May @ARI 21 0 7 4 2.58
    13-May ATL 25 0 7 3 2.65
    8-Apr @MIL 22 1 8 1 2.98
    25-Apr @CHC 30 1 7 2 3.61
    20-Apr @PIT 23 1 4 1 4.13
  • The Cardinals started out fabulously but quickly fizzled. In the bottom of the first, they put runners on second and third with no out (and Carlos Beltran batting) — a run expectancy of 1.571 runs. Instead, they scored zero. That’s because, after two consecutive walks, Cardinal batters struck out three consecutive times. At least they didn’t hit into a double play, right?
  • Tony Cruz allowed a passed ball in Sunday’s game, bringing the catchers’ total to four on the year. It doesn’t seem like much, but the Cardinal backstops’ rate of missed pitches (wild pitches and passed balls) is one every 191 pitches. That may not sound like much, but compared to last year, when they missed one every 398 pitches, it’s twice as often. Of course, it may even out over the course of the year.
  • John Rooney noted that the Braves scored their runs “all with two out,” but what does that phrase mean? And why don’t we ever hear “all with one out”?
  • Good to see Puma prowling the diamond again.
  • The weekend’s matchup of the league’s two best teams ended in a decisive win for the Braves. They’re clearly the better team — at the moment.
  • In the eighth inning of a 7-1 game, Chipper just watched ball four on four pitches like it was intentional. We’re not sure what has happened to Kyle McClellan, but it makes us sad.
  • We won’t gainsay the decision to retire Tony La Russa’s number, though we will note that we think that the team has at least one other number that deserved¬† to be retired first (hint: It’s currently in use on the team and belonged to a player who has more career WAR than Red Schoendienst and Enos Slaughter).

8 Responses to “Recap: Braves 7, Cardinals 4”

  1. HotCorner PhD Says:

    Might you be referring to Jim Edmonds’ #15, which is currently worn by Rafael Furcal? That would certainly be my choice.

  2. Pip Says:

    Not a bad guess or personal choice, but I have in mind someone else (who has roughly the same WAR as JEd).

  3. HotCorner PhD Says:

    Hmmm… Slaughter is #229 in career WAR at 51.3 (Red is #437, with 39.0 WAR), so aside from the aforementioned Edmonds (#169, 57.2 WAR) there are some possibilities in Edmonds’ WAR neighborhood. Mark McGwire, Dazzy Vance, Will Clark, Keith Hernandez, Chuck Finley, and Dennis Eckersley seem like the best bets… but most of those guys only played short stints for StL. Hernandez wore #37 for StL, which isn’t currently worn. McGwire wore #25 for StL – not currently worn. If we go a little higher up the WAR ladder, there’s Frankie Frisch (#86 in career WAR, with 68.0) – his #3 is currently worn by Carlos Beltran. Given that he played 11 of 19 years for StL, that seems a logical choice.

    Certainly fair to say that Frisch has stronger numbers than “Jimmy Baseball”, but given the time periods in which they played, I would have to think that retiring Edmonds’ number would be a more popular move to the average Cards fan.

    PS – long-time reader/lurker, just registered today to post a comment on this topic. LOVE the site and analysis. :-)

  4. Brandon Says:

    I should think the answer is Ted Simmons, whose number is currently worn by David Freese. He’s the only guy I can think of who posted serious WAR as a Cardinal and almost exclusively as a Cardinal whose number is being worn.

  5. Pip Says:

    Glad that you have revealed yourself, HotCorner! Thanks for reading.

    No doubt that the venerable Bob Broeg would commend you for your Frisch suggestion; he was one of Bob’s favorites.

    Another clue: Don’t be so quick to exclude the coaching staff, all who wear numbers on their uniforms… ;) Also, Hernandez played 10 years for the Cardinals, more than McGwire and Edmonds.

  6. HotCorner PhD Says:

    I didn’t exclude Hernandez based on a short stint with StL (the “short stint” guys were Clark, Finley, Dazzy Vance, and Eck); I had excluded him since no PLAYER on the current roster wears his #37. However, if you extend that to current Cardinals coaches (sneaky!!), you find that first-base coach Chris Maloney does indeed wear #37 – so Hernandez would be a viable choice. I would still retire Frisch first, then Edmonds, then Hernandez. As Brandon mentioned, Ted Simmons would also be a worthy choice someday. (However, you could eventually run into the problem of not having enough un-retired jersey numbers to go around… so the process needs to be selective.)

  7. Pip Says:

    Yeah, Brandon’s option of Simba is worthy, too.

    I like your order, but to me the jury is still out on Edmonds (PED era), so I would adjust it thusly:

    1. Frisch
    2. Hernandez*
    3. Simmons

    Given that neither Hernandez nor Simmons are in the HOF yet, and that the Cardinals have other HOFers whose numbers are not yet retired, it’s harder to make a case for Mex and Simba.

    The Yankees have 16 numbers retired, so the Cardinals have room to spare. :) You figure that in any given season a team needs “only” about 49 free numbers (expanded 40-man roster in September, plus coaching staff), so on a 1-99 scale, they can even go up to 20 retired numbers comfortably. :)

    *The one I was actually thinking of.

  8. Brandon Says:

    I grew up hearing from my dad about how great Ted Simmons was (I’m an eighties baby) and how he would have been much more widely acclaimed had he played on better Cardinal teams. Looking at the numbers, I’m surprised at how right he was. Simmons is ninth in career WAR by catchers, even considering that he had no significant WAR after his early thirties.

    My limited research shows that Simmons is one of only a few Cardinals who finished in the top 10 in WAR at their positions. Others are Musial, Pujols, Frisch, and Hornsby. Ozzie and Rolen just missed, and I’m not counting Larry Walker, even though he was top-30 OF, because of his limited time in STL. Based on positional value, you could make the argument that Simmons’ contribution to the Cardinals ranks around 5th all time (of position players), easily exceeding guys like Brock and Schoendienst.

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