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Who are the Cardinals?


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#1 Rovin Romine

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 11:55 AM

Sun-Tsu: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

 

Well, info's scattered across many threads, plus a lot of gleeful (oh yeah!) posts.  There's a lot of talk about the Sox, plus the 2004 Cardinals team, plus the organizations and the WS at a mile high remove (W/L over the season, historical Series,etc.)  Plus we're still discussing Nava/Gomes, Drew/Xander/WMB, the Question that is Peavey, etc.  There's been some good pitching matchup posts as well. 

 

While it's all great to read, I'm pretty much an idiot re: the 2013 Cardinals.  I thought many of us might be, so with that in mind, I thought I'd start a thread to address who are the Cardinals? - how do they play, what we should watch out for, who is injured, who isn't, aggressive on the bases or not, someone who can handle Fenway's left and right field or not?  etc.   What's up with Wacha?  Who is Allen Craig?  Is Old-Man-Long-Ball-Beltran for real (and more importantly, how?!)?  Who will hit well in Fenway?  Who won't?

 

If you are the Cardinals, how to you try to win this thing?

 

Edjumacate us please!

 

 

With that in mind, here are a couple of posts from other threads that start the ball rolling on the Cardinals.  

 

 

 

Fratboy:

 

A few things on the surface I noted while looking at overall records and splits:

 

* Cardinals were mediocre in interleague, putting up a 10-10 record against the AL West and the Royals, breaking down like this:

 

HOU LOL 3-1

KCR 3-1

LAA 1-2

OAK 1-2

SEA 2-1

TEX 0-3

 

* They built their glittery record by beating up on the like of the Brew Crew 14-5, Natstown 6-0, and the Cubs 12-7, and posted the second best record in baseball behind the Indians against sub .500 teams at 58-29. (The Indians were 56-18 and the Sox 44-22.)

 

* They had the 6th best record against over .500 competition, going 39-36 whereas the Sox were 2nd behind Atlanta, going 53-43.

 

* The Cardinals are vulnerable against lefties, going 19-23.

 

That said, here's how I thought things might shake out:

 

* Game 1 Wainwright vs Lester. This could be a classic pitchers duel for the ages, again, remembering the Cards don't fare well against lefties and the Sox with home field advantage. Wainwright's been quite in the playoffs, but I'll give this to the Sox, 2-1.

 

* Game 2 Wacha vs Lackey. There's a reason Wacha was the NLCS: he's quite good, and he made the Dodgers look foolish. Lackey's been tremendous at home to boot, but I think the Cards take this one, 2-1.

 

* Game 3 Buchholz vs Kelly. OVERRATED. Kelly really is not that good a pitcher, has poor control, and doesn't strike anybody out. Buchholz was fatigued last night, and hopefully 6 days rest will help. The Sox will rout the Cards here, 7-3.

 

* Game 4 Peavy vs. Lynn. This is where Peavy really needs to step it up and shine, and this game is critical for the Sox's success against the Cards. The Sox will struggle here, losing 5-3, crushing Sox's fans hearts.

 

* Game 5: Lester vs. Wainwright. Back home, the Cards win again, 4-2.

 

* Game 6: Wacha vs. Lackey. ...and here's where Sox fans could learn to hate John Lackey all over again. Maybe the "Fenway Magic" kicks in here, but I think the Sox could be in trouble here, losing 3-1.

 

***

 

The big issue the Sox face here is much like beating Verlander and Scherzer in every start they made, the Sox have to step it up against Wainwright and Wacha. They will not have handed to them the gifts of swiss chese defense and baserunning blunders. The Cardinals are a good team, and so are the Sox. They are fairly evenly matched. But they face a huge challenge, and taking Game One Wednesday night is necessary to winning the series, as will be Game Four. (I thought the Sox were doomed after losing Game Four to the Tigers, but the Tigers did themselves in.)

 

This will be no cakewalk like 2004 and 2007.

 

 

 

 

Orel Miraculous:

 

Hate to break it to you, but you're going to learn a lot about Michael Wacha over the next week and a half and, unfortunately, you're probably not going to be as pleased as Fozzie about it.

 

He and Wainwright will each get the Sox once, but Kelly and Lynn will be a welcome relief after the Tigers rotation.  Sox in 7. Xander.

 

 

 

Smastroyin:

 

One thing to hope for is for Wacha to hit a wall.

 

In 2012 he was in college and then pitched 21 innings of pro ball

In 2013 he has thrown 85 minor league innings, 65.2 regular season innings, and 14 post-season innings.

 

Wainright is awesome.  But Wacha is the second "ace" that makes them dangerous.  Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly can be hit, as can Shelby Miller if they swap him in.  

 

Of course if you are sick of the Cardinals the depressing this is to look at their ages and realize the Cardinals are going to be around for a while, again.  They are the new Braves, only they can win in the World Series.

 

 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow:

 

A key factor could be whether Allen Craig can come back (seems likely) and how effective he'll be after six weeks on the shelf, without any ability to have a real rehab assignment against actual competition. He took swings against live pitching on Friday for the first time since the injury. They really have nobody else who wouldnt be an embarrassment at DH in the Boston games. An effective Craig really lengthens their lineup though.

 

 

LostinNJ:

 

Caveat: Speed and some aggressive baserunning helped against the Tigers, but largely because the Tigers are not a good defensive team. The same approach against the Cardinals will result in unnecessary outs. Bill James did a study years ago of how various statistics aligned with postseason (or World Series -- can't remember) success and, oddly, the teams with more doubles tended to lose their series. James speculated that these were aggressive teams who exploited bad defenses all season and then got burned by the same strategy against better teams.

 

 

 

DrewDog:

 

Sure. But I don't think they're acquiring that SS in the next 2 days.

 

And Kozma was 1-15 in the NLCS and is 5-25 in the postseason. They've both sucked in the postseason, but Drew's season and career show he's a better hitter. So, while you should have slightly less confidence in Drew based on that his struggles against TB and DET, Kozma hasn't done anything to close whatever gap you see.

 

He's an offensive blackhole, even his minor league OBP is below .310.

 

 

SavinHillbilly:  (On Kozma)

 

Correct as amended. But he's such a terrible hitter that the sum total of his offense and defense is a replacement-level player. He had the worst wOBA and second-worst wRC+ of all players with 400 or more PA this year. And as others have noted, this does not reflect a tough adjustment to the majors; it's what he did in the minors, too. He's been a black hole at every level except a one-year stint in A ball, where he exploded for a .760 OPS. His overall minor league line is an Iggy-esque .236/.308/.344.

 

Interesting article on Cardinal aggressiveness v. Sox patience at the plate.


Edited by Rovin Romine, 21 October 2013 - 11:57 AM.


#2 kieckeredinthehead

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 12:56 PM

I'm all set to make a post about how the game plans among Detroit, Boston, and St. Louis will be the deciding factor. Detroit starters seemed to have a perfect approach against the Sox hitters, pitching backwards early in the series to get them off their rhythm, and then reversing their approach the second time around to get ahead early in the count. The Sox had an even better plan - wait out the starters to get into the bullpen. It was terrifying, but it worked. The Red Sox won with better defense, better running, and a better bullpen. 

 

My hypothesis was going to be that they'd have to change that game plan against St. Louis because their bullpen is far superior: if you knock their starters out, you get even better relievers. I'd also expect the Cardinals not to have as well-defined a game plan against the Red Sox because they haven't seem them as often, and that the Sox hitters would be better prepared to deal with first-pitch fastballs from Wacha/Wainwright. 

 

It turns out, the Red Sox saw 4.01 pitches / PA against Detroit. Their average for the entire season was 4.01. Maybe they were a little less aggressive against the starters, and more aggressive against the bullpen, but it turned out the same. I don't think St. Louis as a team is prepared for that relentlessness, especially with the DH. The Dodgers, by contrast, saw 3.81 pitches/PA (every Red Sox starter averaged higher); Pittsburgh saw 3.86. The highest P/PA in the NL this year was the Mets, with 3.91. That type of patience is going to test St. Louis' pitching.

 

The other issue for St. Louis (someone pointed out in another thread) is that their bench is dreadful. Assuming Craig really is okay to start - although we may be looking at Cabrera redux - Matt Adams is the only guy on the bench with an OPS over 650. By contrast, Boston gets to use Nava (831), Carp (885), Middlebrooks (696), and in St. Louis either Napoli (842) or Ortiz (959).

 

Here's how I bet the games are going to look: Boston and St. Louis' starters are excellent, but Boston's last an extra inning or so because the Cardinals have zero patience. The games are tight to the middle innings, when both teams start bringing in their middle relief and playing matchups. That's the one place where there's a real mis-match between these teams, and it's where the games will be decided. As good as having a real DH will help at home, not having a DH will be even better for the Sox.

 

edit: it turns out that while most teams had similar patience between regular and postseason, the Cardinals jumped from 3.76 to 3.93 in the post. Add in the DH, and they're going to grind..


Edited by kieckeredinthehead, 21 October 2013 - 01:01 PM.


#3 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 21 October 2013 - 01:06 PM

Here's how I bet the games are going to look: Boston and St. Louis' starters are excellent, but Boston's last an extra inning or so because the Cardinals have zero patience. The games are tight to the middle innings, when both teams start bringing in their middle relief and playing matchups. That's the one place where there's a real mis-match between these teams, and it's where the games will be decided. As good as having a real DH will help at home, not having a DH will be even better for the Sox.

 

edit: it turns out that while most teams had similar patience between regular and postseason, the Cardinals jumped from 3.76 to 3.93 in the post. Add in the DH, and they're going to grind..

 

I'm not sure a regular season look tracks, either.  The Red Sox have 6 hitters who qualified for the batting title who were among the top 72 (as far as ESPN's list goes) in P/PA.  The Cardinals had 7.  They have hackers on the bench, but when looking at their starting lineups, they compare quite favorably to the Red Sox by this measure.  And while it's not adjusted for league, they did have the third highest OBP in the majors at .332.  The Sox led at .349.

 

I don't think patience is an area where the Red Sox have a significant advantage.  It seems your edit acknowledges this, though.

 

Edit: I did something to mess up the search criteria the first time around.  My post below has accurate information.


Edited by Snodgrass'Muff, 21 October 2013 - 03:41 PM.


#4 C4CRVT

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 01:15 PM

I would think that being third in MLB in OBP with pitchers hitting would mean that position by position, they're probably very good/ patient hitters.

 

One of the things that stood out to me in looking at their stats is that they don't seem to have any real speedster types on the basepaths.



#5 barbed wire Bob


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Posted 21 October 2013 - 01:16 PM

NM


Edited by barbed wire Bob, 21 October 2013 - 01:16 PM.


#6 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 21 October 2013 - 01:17 PM

One thing that I think could become significant: Both defensive metrics* and some semi-educated observers** suggest that the Cardinals' outfield defense may be be an exploitable weakness. This matters because the Sox are a flyball-hitting team; their FB rate of 35.6% ranked 9th of 30 major league teams, while their GB rate of 41.6% was 29th. (Both teams were near the top in LD rate, the Cardinals #1 and the Sox #3.) Of 140 AL players with 300 or more PA, four Sox show up among the ten lowest GB rates: Gomes, Salty, Drew and Nava.

 

So I think our best chance for this series might be to win it in the gaps, down the lines, and on the warning tracks, as balls fall just beyond the reach of the Cardinals' aging (RF), slowing (LF), or just insufficiently skilled (CF) outfielders.

 

*The numbers that jump out as most telling are Holliday's; his DRS and UZR have declined for four straight years in a pretty steady pattern. But both Beltran and Jay this year ranked as well below average by most metrics as well.

**Just for two quick hits, Bernie Miklasz of the Post-Dispatch last week referred to the Cards' outfield range as "abysmal" in a column critiquing their overall defense. Grant Brisbee on SB Nation devoted a post to the Cards' "horrible" OF defense.



#7 kazuneko

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 02:03 PM

I would think that being third in MLB in OBP with pitchers hitting would mean that position by position, they're probably very good/ patient hitters.

 

One of the things that stood out to me in looking at their stats is that they don't seem to have any real speedster types on the basepaths.

I'm not getting this.

OBP includes a lot (particularly BA) that has nothing to do with patience. Meanwhile, the Cardinals as a team averaged 3.76 P/PA, which ranked 27th in baseball.

No one is saying  they don't have good hitters -they obviously have plenty of those- but no, they aren't patient....



#8 geoduck no quahog


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Posted 21 October 2013 - 02:32 PM

I'll add to the interleague records - showing only the effect of the DH (for Cardinals) and no DH (for the Red Sox)

 

Cardinals Interleague:

 

Overall: 10 - 10

 

In Parks with a DH: 5 - 5

 

(@KC: 2-0; @HOU: 1-1; @OAK: 1-2; @LAA: 1-2)

 

Boston Interleague:

 

Overall: 14-6

 

In Parks w/o DH: 6 - 4

 

(@PHI: 1-1; @COL: 1-1; @LAD: 2-1; @SFO: 2-1)



#9 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 21 October 2013 - 02:33 PM

I'm not getting this.

OBP includes a lot (particularly BA) that has nothing to do with patience. Meanwhile, the Cardinals as a team averaged 3.76 P/PA, which ranked 27th in baseball.

 

They did have the fifth best walk rate in the NL, though (you really can't compare teams across leagues in rate stats; it's apples and oranges). And their swing rates are below league average; O-Swing is third lowest in the league.

 

But it's true that the OBP is predominantly batting average; in the NL they had the second lowest K rate and second highest BABIP, and those two things together made them second in BA (just .001 shy of the Rockies), even though they were near the bottom of the league in HR, which surprised me. They did lead the league in doubles. What they are, it seems, is a team of gap/LD hitters who make excellent contact, have fair-to-good plate discipline, and don't run very well.



#10 glasspusher

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 02:38 PM

From what I'm reading here, the Cards fattened up their record against sub-.500 teams, aren't too hot against the contenders or the AL, have two great starters and two so-so ones, and better defense (infield at least) than Detroit. I watched the NLCS and was fairly impressed by their bullpen, but I never thought the Dodgers were killer either. I view the Cards as having starting pitching that's not as good as Detroit's, hitting that is similar, and find it hard to gauge their bullpen. Overall I don't see that Cards as being as tough as the Tigers. It will be interesting to see their game plan against the sox. I don't expect this series to go less than 6 games.



#11 kazuneko

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 02:43 PM

 

Fratboy:

* The Cardinals are vulnerable against lefties, going 19-23.

Kinda suspicious that this is a flukish stat as the roster does not indicate that this should be a team particularly weak against LHP.

On the 2013 Cardinals the only LHBs that have had significant problems against LHP are Adams, Jay and maybe Carpenter (though he still has a career/2013 season OPS of over .800 against LHP), and with Craig likely to return to the lineup that means Adams will likely play in only half the games of this series.

While it is true that there are players on the team that have historically been even or better against LHP (in particular,  Holliday and Beltran) that have inexplicably faired much better against RHP this season, I have trouble putting too much stock in that. I mean, Holliday is a RHB who put up an OPS that was nearly 200 OPS better against LHP than RHP just last season. I wouldn't think you'd want to use a LOOGY against him anytime soon. Meanwhile, Beltran has nearly 15 major league seasons under his belt and in all but a couple of those years he was significantly better against LHP. Maybe their struggles continue against LHP but it may be more likely that we're looking at a SSS fluke that doesn't reflect the true ability of the Cardinals lineup....


Edited by kazuneko, 21 October 2013 - 03:51 PM.


#12 Orel Miraculous

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 02:49 PM

One thing to keep in mind when evaluating the Cardinals season statistics is that Wacha, who is pitching as well as anyone on the planet right now, only started 10 games during the regular season, and Joe Kelly, who had an ERA of 2.09 in August and September, spent the first half of the season in the bullpen.  I think it's fair to say that these two guys make the Cardinals a better team today than they were for much of the season.



#13 Snodgrass'Muff


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Posted 21 October 2013 - 03:40 PM

I'm not getting this.

OBP includes a lot (particularly BA) that has nothing to do with patience. Meanwhile, the Cardinals as a team averaged 3.76 P/PA, which ranked 27th in baseball.

No one is saying  they don't have good hitters -they obviously have plenty of those- but no, they aren't patient....

 

I'm glad you said this, because it made me go back and recheck my search from earlier and apparently I did something to mess up the results from ESPN's list of P/PA this year.

 

There are 140 qualified batters and the Sox have 6 guys on the list.  St. Louis has 7.  Their ranks, however, are as follows.

 

BOS: 1, 20, 26, 61, 64, 68
STL: 19, 58, 80, 88, 100, 125, 136
 
So the Red Sox had 6 guys seeing more pitches per plate appearance than St. Louis' third best guy.  Of course, all but one of St. Louis' hitters was at 3.64 or higher so their low team total is dragged down by a weak bench, but even just looking at the starters the Red Sox do have an advantage there.  They did still have the highest OBP in the NL, but as you pointed out, they didn't do it by drawing the most walks.  They were 5th in the NL in total walks with 481 and 104 behind the leaders (Cincy), just barely above the league average of 474.

Edited by Snodgrass'Muff, 21 October 2013 - 03:44 PM.


#14 CSteinhardt


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Posted 21 October 2013 - 03:50 PM

 

It turns out, the Red Sox saw 4.01 pitches / PA against Detroit. Their average for the entire season was 4.01. Maybe they were a little less aggressive against the starters, and more aggressive against the bullpen, but it turned out the same. I don't think St. Louis as a team is prepared for that relentlessness, especially with the DH. The Dodgers, by contrast, saw 3.81 pitches/PA (every Red Sox starter averaged higher); Pittsburgh saw 3.86. The highest P/PA in the NL this year was the Mets, with 3.91. That type of patience is going to test St. Louis' pitching.

 

 

P/PA is useful, but not quiet the right metric here, because it's not really where the the effect comes from.  Wainwright faced 28 batters per start (and led the majors in batters faced this year), and over 28 PA, the difference between 4.01 P/PA and the Dodgers' 3.81 P/PA is a whopping...5.6 pitches.  The bigger difference, rather, is that the extra patience is also generating extra PA.  Is there a good study that's found a typical translation between the two?  



#15 Yaz1967

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 04:35 PM

I live in St. Louis, so I've watched almost every Cardinals game this year along with the Red Sox. I think this is going to be a very close series. Probably closer than a lot of other people on here think. The Cardinals are a very good team with a deep lineup. 

 

First Base- Matt Adams hasn't been very good lately, but he also has streaks where he can hit absolute bombs. Allen Craig is going to play a big factor here. Having him back (if he really can hit/is healthy) will be a huge lift for the Cards offense. Without him, the DH options for the Cards were absolutely terrible. That being said, Craig said he still is in pain, but it is manageable. How much will this pain change him as a hitter?   

 

Second- Matt Carpenter had a bad stretch in the NLDS leading into the NLCS, but seems to be hitting better. He was an absolute doubles machine this year- most of any Cardinal in any year, I believe. He has a compact and quick swing, which encourages hits to the gap but doesn't provide much power. His defense has been pretty good this year (didn't expect much since he is not a natural 2b), but don't really expect him to save any runs like Pedroia does.

 

Shortstop- I definitely consider this a weak point for the Cardinals. Pete Kozma has been dreadful on offense and Daniel Descalso, who played a good deal in August/September, isn't hitting either. Kozma has played great defense this year, which is why he has held on to his job. I actually figured they would give Ryan Jackson a shot, who is also good on D and still pretty bad with the bat, but it seems like Matheny soured on him after a few games last year.

 

Third- Freese hasn't had a very good year. His ground ball rate is up and he hasn't hit for power. There was actually a time earlier in the year when the Cards started Kolten Wong at 2nd and moved Carpenter back to 3rd base to provide a little spark to the lineup. Freese hasn't been good on defense either, and many times Matheny takes him out in the 7th inning for a defensive replacement (Descalso).

 

OF- The Cardinals OF has been a mixed bag this year- pretty good on offense and bad on defense.  As others have pointed out, the range of their OFers is quite poor. Beltran can't cover much ground, Jay takes poor routes, and Holliday has never been very good in the OF. Watching Beltran play RF at Fenway could get very interesting. As for hitting, Beltran and Holliday are going to hit. Jay is a question mark and I'd imagine Shane Robinson might get a few starts in CF, even though he is really only a AAA quality player.

 

SP- Waino is going to be good. He is going to strike guys out, but I expect the Red Sox to walk against him more than he is used to. Wacha has been phenomenal and I don't think it has been a fluke. His fastball and change-up have been excellent....I gotta believe he is due to give up at least one run, right? Kelly has been a smoke and mirrors type of pitcher. He gives up hits, walks too many guys, doesn't get many k's, but somehow doesn't give up many runs and somehow gets the W (dice k in 08, anyone?). I think the Sox will get to him and we will probably see Shelby Miller out of the bullpen. The management of Miller has been very strange. He only pitched once in the PIT series (I believe) and didn't pitch at all in the LDS. It seems to suggest they are concerned about his workload and are trying to rest him. Lance Lynn had a mixed season. He kind of hit a wall around August, but returned to pretty good form in September. I have to believe a good lineup will hit him. Matheny has a great deal of confidence in him for some reason and tends to leave him in a bit long. He is one of those pitchers who tends to have a bad inning or two during the course of a game.

 

Bullpen- The Cardinals bullpen came together pretty well by the end of the year. Rosenthal has looked very good as closer since he took over for Mujica, who has really been awful lately (I have no idea why he is on the PS roster). Setting up for Rosenthal has been Carlos Martinez, and when Martinez locates well he is pretty much unhittable...the is a reason why the Sox wanted to sign him. Axford, who they traded for Midseason, has been ok but I doubt he will see many high leverage situations. He can still throw gas, but can't locate as well as he used to, so he tends to give up more HR's. Choate has been a good LOOGY this year and Siegrist has been a good lefty power arm, who can go for an inning or so. Maness has been very good at coming into the game with runners on base. He has been a DP machine this year.

 

Bench- The Cardinals bench is really bad. One of Adams/Craig off the bench will certainly help when playing in StL. Outside of that there is Kolten Wong (hasn't been hitting well...partially because he hasn't seen enough playing time), Shane Robinson (not good either...his HR against LA was a pretty big fluke), and Adron Chambers (not good either). No one is particularly fast either, but I believe Shane Robinson is the fastest of the bunch.  

 

Hope this helps give a quick overview.


Edited by Yaz1967, 21 October 2013 - 04:41 PM.


#16 SMU_Sox


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Posted 21 October 2013 - 04:44 PM

Starting 4 Pitchers: ERA-/FIP-/xFIP-

 

1. Lester: 90/87/98 vs Wainwright: 81/70/74    

2. Lackey: 85/94/88 vs Wacha: 77/80/89

3. Clay: 42/68/86 vs Joe Kelly: 74/110/111

4. Peavy: 101/96/102 vs Lance Lynn: 110/90/97

 

I think the series comes down to how well Clay pitches. Wainwright is a superior pitcher to Lester. Wacha and Lackey and Peavy and Lynn are a wash to me. But if Clay pitches like he did before he got hurt our starting pitching is evenly matched. If that is the case we should win the series. 

I'm an xFIP and FIP guy (with more of an emphasis on xFIP unless a pitcher has consistently pitched above or below it in a statistically significant degree for his career). Right now I'd give the edge, it's a slight edge, to St. L for their starting pitching. But within that edge is a lot of variability. It's not a lead pipe lock that St. L starters outpitch our starters. But on paper they have the edge based on 2013 season statistics.



#17 Devizier


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Posted 21 October 2013 - 05:00 PM

Given that the Red Sox just beat the best left-handed starting pitching as well as the best overall starting pitching en route to the World Series, pitching matchups shouldn't scare them too much. I'm curious about the Cardinals' offense. Don't really know a thing about 'em.



#18 reggiecleveland


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Posted 21 October 2013 - 07:26 PM

Given that the Red Sox just beat the best left-handed starting pitching as well as the best overall starting pitching en route to the World Series, pitching matchups shouldn't scare them too much. I'm curious about the Cardinals' offense. Don't really know a thing about 'em.

They beat the bullpen of that team. They did damn little against the starters



#19 mabrowndog


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Posted 21 October 2013 - 07:42 PM

If you want a Cardinals-centric feed to follow on Twitter, subscribe to this list. It includes St. Louis beat writers, broadcasters, media relations, front office, players and bloggers. Expect some extraneous coverage of the Rams, Blues and UMO Tigers sports from certain outlets, but it should be minimal.



#20 JimD

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 09:40 PM

Buster Olney had an interesting observation on his ESPN podcast today.  He mentioned talk around the league that the Cardinals are among the most aggressive teams in using baserunners to attempt to steal signs and pitch location and relay these to the batter.  I'm not sure if I agree with his suggestion that this worked against Clayton Kershaw, but I have to think that a prepared team like the Red Sox would be aware of this (although we'd likely have to wait for a post-WS Alex Speier column to read about it).



#21 bosockboy


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Posted 21 October 2013 - 10:01 PM

Shut down Matt Carpenter and they are pretty pedestrian. He stirs their drink.

Ellsbury running on Molina fascinates me the most in this series.

#22 glasspusher

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 11:37 PM

They beat the bullpen of that team. They did damn little against the starters

Our starters kept most of the games close or outpitched their starters...then our bats and bullpen won it. 


Edited by glasspusher, 21 October 2013 - 11:37 PM.


#23 Drek717

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 06:37 AM

Also live in St. Louis and second everything Yaz1967 posted.  Another factoid I'd add is that the Cards are a SLOW team on the basepaths.  Yadi, Freese, Craig, and Adams are all lead foot station to station baserunners (and that was before Craig was attempting to play through a foot injury).  Beltran is no longer a threat as a base runner in his old age.  Matt Holiday had never been a worry to steal and he's visibly slowing down as a runner.

 

Matt Carpenter is their only real threat as a runner and that isn't about him stealing, he's just one of the very few guys you need to worry about making it home from second on an outfield single.

 

Their offensive production is built around line drive hitters with well above league average BABIP moving guys around the diamond.  The Red Sox' defense has the potential to be a big turning point in the series.  If Drew, Pedroia, Ellsbury, and Victorino keep making plays in the field it will go a long ways to helping the Sox pitchers have clean innings.  So will David Ortiz' ability to cover 1B when in St. Louis.  To that end I could also see including JBJ on the WS roster as he might be a valuable late inning defensive replacement in St. Louis.



#24 KillerBs

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 04:45 PM

I am thinking the Cardinals no name kiddie bullpen will be key.

 

Trevor Rosenthal, lights out closer: fastball at 98 and a change. 23 years old rookie, after being a starter in the minors. Closer since September 23, 2013, with 6 career saves, 3 in post season.

 

Carlos Martinez, 21 year old flame throwing RH set up guy. Hitting 100 on the gun. 28 major league innings, not especially effective. Touched up in game 3 by the Pirates but otherwise lights out in play-offs. Starter at AA/AAA this year with very good but not great numbers. Teammates with Maness and Siegrist in Palm Beach (Hi A) in early 2012.

 

Kevin Siegrist, lefty, fastball guy, who looks to have experienced a big velo jump this year. Anotehr 96-97 guy. Minor league numbers suggest control can be an issue. 40 very good career major league IPs. 23 years old.  2012 split between Palm Beach and Springfield (AA)

 

Seth Maness. Righty sinker ball guy, sits 90-91, it looks. ROOGY maybe? Low strikeout guy with great control, it appears. 62 career IPs. Looks to be hittable. Pitched in Palm Beach last year too before promotion to AA.  24 years old.

 

Edward Mujica -- for a change a bona fide established major leaguer, pitched well, with 37 saves, this year. Impeccable control, though hittable and homer prone, it seems. Has fallen out of favor it seems and now appears to be behind all of the above in the pecking order.

 

Randy Choate -- mediocre 37 year old LOOGY with control issues, who we know. Had a pretty good year. 

 

John Axford -- former Milw. closer of course, 2 years removed from his breakout 2011. Still throws hard (96) but has been homer prone and on the wild side since then.

 

And, Shelby Miller...(22 years old).

 

Cards will rely heavily on Maness/Siegrist/Martinez and Rosenthal, more or less in that order. I don't think we have seen anything like this, a World Series team with the entire back end of the bull pen made up of rookies (and those who will be rookie eligible next year). How these kids perform in the next week or so will likely have a lot to do with who wins. Lotta pressure naturally.



#25 HriniakPosterChild

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 04:47 PM

"Who is Karim Garcia?"



#26 Ramon AC

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 05:07 PM

"Who is Karim Garcia?"

Who the hell is Stan Papi?



#27 Redkluzu


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Posted 22 October 2013 - 05:10 PM

Let me just say, reading this is fantastic and helpful. I do want to bring up the "intangibles," and as we all know what they are with the Sox (beards, grand slams, Gomes, Fenway aura, wearing guys down, the X Factor -- to name a few) as someone who knows very little about the Cards, I am wondering if anyone can spell them out.What kinds of things have happened with St. Louis that could be unexpected? What's their magic?


Edited by Redkluzu, 22 October 2013 - 05:13 PM.


#28 DennyDoyle'sBoil


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Posted 22 October 2013 - 07:23 PM

 

edit: it turns out that while most teams had similar patience between regular and postseason, the Cardinals jumped from 3.76 to 3.93 in the post. Add in the DH, and they're going to grind..

 

I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the numbers of pitches faced by the two teams in the playoffs so far, because it's such a small sample that I thought breaking it out game by game might be interesting.  I know that pitches per batter is sort of the standard by which the teams are measured in terms of patience, but I also think the overall number of pitches faced seems significant -- that is, both the number of pitches per inning and per game, especially in a series where the teams play each other for more games in a row (unless it's a sweep) than in the regular year, so there is a cumulative effect.  In general, I view sort of the gold standard for working a pitcher as 150 pitches in a 9 inning game.  When I'm watching pitch counts during a game, that's what I'm looking for -- get the damned starter to 100 pitches in 6 innings.  It's really a blended sort of stat that talks both about how patient your team is and how good the offense is.  You can make a pitcher pitch 20 pitches by sending two guys up who foul up a lot of pitches or by sending 10 guys up who hack away but get on base.  Either way it's good.

 

Anyway, my findings are below for what they're worth.  My conclusion is that the Sox are, generally speaking, more consistent in getting pitch counts up in the playoffs so far than the Cardinals have been.  Going back to what I call that gold standard of 150 pitches per 9 innings, the Sox are basically right on it, doing that good or better in 8 of 10 playoff games so far.  Only the Price game and Verlander game did not accomplish that result.  Cardinals achieved that rate only in 3 of their 1 games.  Of all the result, the most amazing one Red Sox game 5 -- basically, a one-hitter where they saw 164 pitches.  You'd like to think that in a long series that had some effect on using bullpen pieces Leyland would have preferred not to use.  (Just by way of example, Shane Victorino saw three Jose Veras curveballs that game, because the Sox were able to get Sanchez out.  Benoit had to throw 22 pitches.  These things paid delayed dividends.)

 

Anyway, such as they are, here are the pitches seen each game by the Cardinals and Red Sox, with the number of innings the teams batted and the number of batters they sent to the plate (with rates per game).

 

St. Lou

 

1.  151 pitches seen.  8 innings (18.875/inning).  39 batters (3.87/batter).

2.  135   9 innings (15/inning)  33 batters (4.09/batter)

3.  135  9 innings (15/inning) 36 batters (3.75/batter)

4.  135  9 innings (15/inning) 34 batters (3.97/batter

5.  124  8 innings (15.5/inning) 36 batters (3.44/batter)

6.  183  12.1 innings (14.84/inning) 47 batters (3.89/batter)

7.  102  8 innings (12.75/inning) 27 batters (3.778/batter)

8.  138  9 innings (15.333/inning) 31 batters (4.45/batter)

9.  159  9 innings  (17.667/inning) 40 batters (3.975/batter)

10. 141 9 innings (15.667/inning) 36 batters (3.917/batter)

11. 171 8 innings (21.375/inning) 41 batters (4.171/batter)

 

1574 pitches seen.  143/game.  16.007/inning.  400 batters.  3.93/batter. 

 

(I checked the effect of pitchers batting, to see if it skews the numbers.  It doesn’t.  Pitchers actually take a lot of pitches.  In 25 PAs by Cardinals’ pitchers, they saw 99 pitches, or 3.96 pitches per at bat – a tiny bit more than the team’s average.)

 

Boston

 

1.  180 pitches seen.  8 innings (22.5/inning).  44 batters (4.090/batter)

2.  124  8 innings (15.5/inning).  36 batters (3.444/batter)

3.  169  9 innings (18.777/inning)  40 batters (4.225/batter)

4.  153  9 innings (17.000/inning) 40 batters (3.825/batter)

5.  164  9 innings  (18.222/inning) 35 batters (4.69/batter)

6.  143  8 innings (17.875/inning) 34 batters  (4.205/batter)

7.  132  9 innings (14.667/inning) 32 batters (4.125/batter)

8.  156  9 innings (17.333/inning) 40 batters (3.90/batter)

9.  155  9 innings (17.222/inning) 39 batters (3.974/batter)

10. 136 8 innings (17.000/inning) 34 batters (4.000/batter)

 

1512 pitches seen.  151.2/game.  17.581/inning.  374 batters.  4.04/batter.

 

Notes:  (1) STL game 6, 4 batters hit in the last 1/3 inning.  (2) Boston game 6, two batters hit last inning, no outs recorded.    



#29 geoduck no quahog


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Posted 22 October 2013 - 07:32 PM

Not to take away from Denny's analysis above, but on a different note - following question:

I'm sick of hearing about Craig's BA with runners on base. It just seems like bullshit as a predictor. On the other hand there are a couple of things that change with people on base...

Hole on the RS of the infield
Pitching from the stretch

Is there anything to the SuperCraig stat? Anything beyond BABIP, luck or math?

#30 nvalvo


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Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:20 PM

Not to take away from Denny's analysis above, but on a different note - following question:

I'm sick of hearing about Craig's BA with runners on base. It just seems like bullshit as a predictor. On the other hand there are a couple of things that change with people on base...

Hole on the RS of the infield
Pitching from the stretch

Is there anything to the SuperCraig stat? Anything beyond BABIP, luck or math?

 

Well, for this year (when that split's been an amazing .378), it's only been 264 PA (233 AB), and batting average stabilizes around 910 AB. So, yeah. 

 

It's also aided by a BABIP of .418, which is a fair bit above his career .345 BABIP. I'd be interested to see the league average for those situations. 



#31 kieckeredinthehead

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:36 PM

Buster Olney had an interesting observation on his ESPN podcast today.  He mentioned talk around the league that the Cardinals are among the most aggressive teams in using baserunners to attempt to steal signs and pitch location and relay these to the batter.  I'm not sure if I agree with his suggestion that this worked against Clayton Kershaw, but I have to think that a prepared team like the Red Sox would be aware of this (although we'd likely have to wait for a post-WS Alex Speier column to read about it).

 

Not to take away from Denny's analysis above, but on a different note - following question:

I'm sick of hearing about Craig's BA with runners on base. It just seems like bullshit as a predictor. On the other hand there are a couple of things that change with people on base...

 

Stealing signs could certainly have a positive effect on BA w/ runners on.

 

edit: Cardinals with nobody on have a 653 OPS. With a man on 2B, they're at 920 OPS. NL average is 694 none on, 694 man on 2B. Boston is 784, 726.


Edited by kieckeredinthehead, 22 October 2013 - 11:52 PM.


#32 Super Nomario


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Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:38 AM

 

1574 pitches seen.  143/game.  16.007/inning.  400 batters.  3.93/batter. 

 

(I checked the effect of pitchers batting, to see if it skews the numbers.  It doesn’t.  Pitchers actually take a lot of pitches.  In 25 PAs by Cardinals’ pitchers, they saw 99 pitches, or 3.96 pitches per at bat – a tiny bit more than the team’s average.)

It might not affect P/PA, but it's certainly going to affect all the other numbers, since pitchers suck at getting on base. And of course, getting on base is the best way to drive up pitch count.



#33 Savin Hillbilly


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Posted 23 October 2013 - 07:15 AM

 

 

edit: Cardinals with nobody on have a 653 OPS. With a man on 2B, they're at 920 OPS. NL average is 694 none on, 694 man on 2B. Boston is 784, 726.

 

Balk on purpose with 2 out, man on 2nd? (Kidding. I think.)



#34 m0ckduck

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 07:32 AM

 
Balk on purpose with 2 out, man on 2nd? (Kidding. I think.)


I would also like to see the 'Bring in Dempster, throw at head' deterrent employed.

 

EDIT: runner at 2B gets the biggest OPS boost, but they still have an outrageous .865 OPS with RISP in a sample size of 1355 plate appearances, and individual splits that are consistently higher than their .653 bases-empty figure (1B only: .802; 3B only: .818; runners at corners: .923). Surely, sign-stealing can't account for all of this. What can? This discrepancy is what boosts them into a top-3 offense rather than the slightly-below-Tampa offense that stats like OPS+ peg them as. 


Edited by m0ckduck, 23 October 2013 - 01:49 PM.


#35 DennyDoyle'sBoil


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Posted 23 October 2013 - 01:50 PM

It might not affect P/PA, but it's certainly going to affect all the other numbers, since pitchers suck at getting on base. And of course, getting on base is the best way to drive up pitch count.

 

That's a good point.  Cardinals' pitchers OBP for the series was .125, as compared to the team's .285.  And, of course, a DH probably is expected to raise not lower OBP over the course of the series.


Edited by DennyDoyle'sBoil, 23 October 2013 - 01:50 PM.


#36 Rovin Romine

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 04:29 PM

MLB scout's report on Cards.



#37 Redkluzu


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Posted 24 October 2013 - 08:33 AM

Now I have an answer to an intangible for the Cardinals-- fear. What else can explain that bad defense folks? We could say the weather, bad luck, just plain mistakes but I'm calling it just plain fear.


Edited by Redkluzu, 24 October 2013 - 08:34 AM.


#38 Reverend


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Posted 24 October 2013 - 02:48 PM

Courtesy of Hendoo:

 



#39 Rovin Romine

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 04:17 PM

Courtesy of Hendoo:

 

 

Nice work!






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