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Fact and Fiction about the pitching staff -- what the numbers show

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  • Fact and Fiction about the pitching staff -- what the numbers show

    In the discussion of the bullpen failures, one myth that has frequently been floated is that the bullpen's struggles are a reflection of the rotation's struggles. As the starting pitching has become less consistent, it's thrown a larger burden upon the bullpen.

    Looking at the numbers, though, I don't think that bears out.

    On June 7 Wainwright sprained his pitching finger. He has not pitched since. Not quite one week later (June 13) Todd Wellemeyer went down with his injury. He has since come back, but has never regained his effectiveness.

    Up to this point, the Cardinal rotation had been one of the wonders of baseball. Since then, it's been a sea of inconsistency.

    So using these two injuries to define the "before" and "after" of the rotation, this is what you get.

    Here is what the pitching staff looked like on the morning of June 7:

    Thompson22110 2/3123304111000002.53.293.370.415
    Wellemeyer1313880 652826825627110002.
    Wainwright1212886 2/3733330919585340003.
    Lohse1313674 1/3773332317346220003.87.270.311.393
    Pineiro88444 472322513232320004.50.273.324.436
    Looper1313474 924440721357510004.86.308.360.455
    Parisi2206 2/318161307301000017.55.500.568.667
    636331376 1/3384180166321062262815100003.97.265.317.410

    lw, by the way, means lost wins.

    Middle relievers:

    Worrell2003 3000310000000.00.333.500.444
    Franklin210021 1/314530101121102121.
    McClellan290031 1/32777182401012152.
    Perez10008 2/34220461000022.
    Parisi80015 2/3165515100110002.87.258.313.403
    Springer200015 1/3155519121000032.93.254.353.339
    Villone250024 1/3211110112231100153.70.239.333.295
    Flores240016 1/316871101310102103.86.254.355.349
    Boggs1002 3111000000004.50.429.429.857
    Reyes70012 13661381100014.50.277.320.426
    Thompson4007 7661620100007.71.292.433.500
    Jimenez4006 1/39664230000008.53.333.379.852
    Isringhausen5003 2/34541420200109.82.250.400.438
    16000167 1526762137611578318483.34.244.330.363

    And the closers:

    Flores100 1/30000000001100.
    Franklin8006 10552260107807.50.357.400.750
    Isringhausen160014 1/31812122610130111607.53.305.382.542
    Reyes2001 2/332210200011110.80.375.3751.000
    270022 1/33119195818140202617.66.323.383.635

    Important things to note: 1 - the closers were already imploding. Izzy had already cracked up and passed the mantle on to Franklin. No one was doing much with the job. 2 -- Note the innings distribution. Starters were pitching 5.97 innings per start. Middle relief 2.65 and the closers 0.35.

    Here is what has happened since Wellemeyer's injury:


    Mulder110 1/30000210000000.00.000.667.000
    Lohse99759 632422813355100003.36.270.309.425
    Thompson1105 5220010100003.
    Looper77237 1/3462120109181310004.82.301.352.562
    Pineiro88448 2/3702828511201120005.18.340.379.534
    Garcia1105 5332140000005.40.263.300.579
    Wellemeyer66032 2/3392020311141220005.51.300.354.446
    Boggs55126 332524318132200008.31.308.414.505

    Middle relief:

    Garcia1002 1000120000000.
    Reyes1001 0000001000000.
    Springer200014 1/3112113111000130.
    Jimenez4007 2/34110830000001.17.154.361.154
    McClellan190022 1/3197747202430272.82.241.302.430
    Isringhausen150018 2/3156628160020102.89.217.316.348
    Thompson60015 2/3146623101000003.
    Villone150010 74426130100043.60.200.317.429
    Perez90012 138829131010116.00.295.411.591
    Flores8004 11330520000006.75.478.571.609
    Franklin8007 13763331100007.71.394.459.727
    Boggs1001 2110100000009.00.400.500.600
    Mulder2001 1/342200100001013.50.571.556.571
    Parisi200 2/333313002000040.50.750.8571.500

    and closers:

    Thompson100 2/31000101000100.00.333.500.667
    Franklin90013 1/3166633110106904.05.308.345.577
    McClellan100 2/332200000101027.00.600.600.600
    Perez100 1/311110001001027.00.500.5002.000
    Isringhausen100 1/332200000000154.00.750.7501.000

    The starters have been much worse, but everything else is virtually the same (yes middle relief has sagged slightly, but still very good). The inning distribution is even close. The starters over the last 38 games have averaged 5.63 innings, the middle relief 3.10 and the closers 0.40.

    So the numbers suggest that the bullpen hasn't been visibly affected by the downturn in starter effectiveness. The middle relief corps continues to do a praiseworthy job.

    The problem is and continues to be the closers.
    This game's gotta be played with fear and arrogance - Crash Davis