Hello from Houston. I’ll be kind of free-floating this series, working on a couple of longer-term features plus a column (maybe more than one) and some other stuff. Meanwhile, Richard Dean has your main Cards coverage.
Still, I’m at the park, so I’ve got some things to offer. The weather upon arriving in Houston was… striking. Nasty, nasty storms. It’s moving toward fall in some parts of the country, but down here it’s still summer. Anyway, on with the entry:
Note of the night: Jake Westbrook is 1-3 as a Cardinal, and the team is 1-5 in his starts.
Little hint: that doesn’t tell you anything about how Westbrook has pitched. He’s averaged 6 1/3 innings per start and has gone at least six every time. In five of his six starts, he’s pitched a quality start, and his worst outing was four runs in six innings.
There’s no reason the Cardinals couldn’t be 5-1 with Westbrook on the hill, rather than 1-5.
In fact, look deeper, and he’s pitched even better than the runs allowed would indicate. He’s amassed 34 strikeouts against six walks. He’s got an absurd ground out/fly out ratio of nearly 5:1.
Everything that Westbrook can control, he’s controlled well. Everything else… hasn’t gone so well.
“He’s probably not happy here,” TLR quipped.
Westbrook didn’t say that. And in fact, he’s not thrilled with the way he’s thrown the ball. But he also knows things could look a lot different for him.
“I’m fairly consistent,” he said. “I definitely feel like I’m capable of pitching better. I’m trying to get deep into the ballgames and give us a chance to win, and I feel like I’ve done that for the most part. Could I have done better? Of course. And it’s my job to figre out how to do that.”
As for that 1-5 team record…
“That’s what I worry about, and that’s not very good,” he said. “A lot of that has to do with me not being as good as I can be, and I need to figure out a way to be better.”
Stat of the day: The Cardinals have five players currently on their roster who have at least 350 plate appearances this year and an OPS below 700. That’s the most of any National League team and tied with the A’s for the most in baseball. Aside from the Cards, in the National League, only the Padres even have more than two such players.
I’ve harped on it all year, but this is just another example. The biggest problem with this team between the lines is lineup depth. The core of the lineup is excellent. It just hasn’t gotten anywhere near enough help from the other guys.
Fun with double situational splits: With runners in scoring position in August, Albert Pujols is 10-for-20 with five extra base hits, eight walks and NO strikeouts, good for a .500/.643/1.050 line.
And, finally, the playlist:
This one is dedicated to my beloved bride back at home, whom I’m eager to see in a couple of days.
The Hold Steady, “Chips Ahoy”
Drive-By Truckers, “The Wig He Made Her Wear”
R.E.M., “These Days”
Mike Doughty, “Navigating by the Stars at Night”
Gorillaz, “Superfast Jellyfish”