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Rob Neyer hates the Cardinals, V. 2.0

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  • Rob Neyer hates the Cardinals, V. 2.0

    QUOTE
    A year ago, with the Cardinals cruising to the best record in the National League, there really was only one knock against them. Although they had five good starting pitchers, they didn't seem to have anything like a great starting pitcher.

    Not this year. The table below lists the ERA rank, in 2004 and '05, for the five St. Louis starters who qualified for the ERA title in both seasons:
    Code:
     2004  2005  
    1  13th  2nd  
    2  19th  14th  
    3  30th  21st  
    4  31st  30th  
    5  38th  32nd
    One thing nobody has talked about, or at least talked much about, is the durability of the Cardinals' rotation these two years.

    Last season, four Cardinals started 31 or 32 games (and Chris Carpenter started 28 before being felled by a minor arm injury in mid-September). This season, they've been even healthier, as five Cardinals have combined to start 144 of 146 games. And thanks to Carpenter, the Cardinals have what they didn't have last year: an ace. They're better at the other four spots in the team's ERA pecking order, too.

    Last season, the Cardinals (3.75) finished second in the National League in ERA, just behind the Braves (3.74) and just ahead of the Cubs (3.81). I didn't think they could duplicate that performance this season. Not with the likes of Jeff Suppan, Jason Marquis and Matt Morris in the rotation. But, of course, they're even better this season. With a league-best 3.37 ERA -- again, thanks largely to Carpenter -- the Cardinals are well ahead of the No. 2 Astros (3.59).

    And it's not just the starters. A year ago, six St. Louis relievers pitched at least 45 innings and their combined ERA was 2.74. This year, six St. Louis relievers have pitched at least 30 innings and their combined ERA is 2.86. Three of the six in 2005 -- Jason Isringhausen, Ray King and Julian Tavarez -- were among the six in 2004 ... but then again, three of them were not. I've long believed that the right manager can simply create, through sheer force of will and judgment, a good (or great) bullpen from whatever material's at hand. And Tony La Russa is Exhibit A.

    Last season, the Cardinals led the National League in scoring, just a few runs ahead of the Giants. This season, the Cardinals are No. 2 in scoring, just a few runs behind the Reds. The constants: Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds. The nonconstants: everybody else.

    Larry Walker, Reggie Sanders and Scott Rolen have missed significant time this season because of injuries. The Cardinals haven't missed a beat.

    After winning the NL pennant a year ago, the Cardinals changed their catcher, second baseman and shortstop. And oddly enough, the new catcher, new second baseman and new shortstop are all performing essentially the same as their predecessors. Look at the OPSs in both seasons for the primary players at each position:
    Code:
       Catcher  Second base  Shortstop  
    2004  .640  .735  .728  
    2005  .681  .743  .748
    Actually, the replacements have been somewhat more productive at bat. And they are significantly cheaper. A year ago, Cardinals fans were terrified by the thought of L.A.R. (Life After Renteria). And for roughly a third of what Renteria was paid last season, David Eckstein is doing just as well. Last season, catcher Mike Matheny was paid $4 million. This season, Yadier Molina is doing everything Matheny did -- for $323,000.

    General manager Walt Jocketty did a masterful job of putting this team together, and La Russa has done a masterful job of getting the most of the players Jocketty gave him. Bobby Cox is going to be manager of the year, and deservedly so. But La Russa, Cox's future Hall of Fame counterpart, also is having one of the finest seasons of his brilliant career.

    Senior writer Rob Neyer writes for Insider two or three times per week during the season. To offer criticism, praise or anything in between, send an e-mail to [email protected].

    [/b][/quote]

  • #2
    What a hack.



    Sorry, old habits are hard to break.
    RIP Chris Jones 1971-2009
    You'll never be forgotten.

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    • #3
      QUOTE(Fishbone @ Sep 15 2005, 10:41 AM) Quoted post
      I've long believed that the right manager can simply create, through sheer force of will and judgment, a good (or great) bullpen from whatever material's at hand. And Tony La Russa is Exhibit A. [/b][/quote]

      Uh...2003?

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      • #4
        QUOTE(backstop @ Sep 15 2005, 10:50 AM) Quoted post

        QUOTE(Fishbone @ Sep 15 2005, 10:41 AM) Quoted post
        I've long believed that the right manager can simply create, through sheer force of will and judgment, a good (or great) bullpen from whatever material's at hand. And Tony La Russa is Exhibit A. [/b][/quote]

        Uh...2003?
        [/b][/quote]
        What? You didn't like the Pedro Bourbon, Jr. era?
        Sponsor of Adam Wainwright
        Sponsor of the $0.50 any-size frozen coke at Mobil on the Run when the Cards score six
        There are 24 teams in baseball with a longer World Series drought than the St. Louis Cardinals.
        "I told myself from the beginning, 'If he's going to throw a shutout, then he's going to tie,' ... he was not going to beat me today." ---Adam Wainwright, 8/11/10
        "I was confused." ---Tim McCarver, 7/30/15

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        • #5
          OK, Dave Duncan needs to take the handcuffs and gag off of Rob Neyer and let him out of the basement.
          Official sponsor of the St. Louis Cardinals

          "This is a heavyweight bout indeed."--John Rooney, Oct. 27, 2011

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