Results tagged ‘ Stat of the day ’

Note of the night/Stat of the Day, June 17

Note of the night:

I hesitate to make too much of good guy/bad guy, leader, set-an-example stuff. I think those of us who do what I do tend to use that stuff as a crutch far too often, and we write it in retrospect, using it to explain things rather than noting it in advance and getting any kind of predictive value.

It’s with that preface that I point this out.

I was really struck by how Chris Carpenter answered a question tonight about the error charged to Pujols. He was asked if he’d be happy taking his chances with that ball being hit to that spot again, and of course he said yes. But he really went further than that in talking about the expectations placed on Pujols.

“That ball was hit good.”

(you have no problem taking your chances with that ball being hit to him) “Not at all. He makes that play all kinds of different times. What’s come to be expected of him at times is… tough for him. I don’t know how to put it, but the expectation level is above all the rest.

“Is that ball a hit? Probably. That ball is hit hard. Takes a funny hop. But in the past, he’s so exceptional at what he does, they probably look at it like he should make that play. It’s a hit, to me.”

I dunno. Maybe not earth-shattering. But in being there, it was clear to me that it was important to Carpenter to make this point. It wasn’t just boilerplate, I’m not going to blame my teammate and be the bad guy stuff. It was a sincere point that he wanted to make sure got made.

Stat of the day: Carpenter’s strikeout to unintentional walk ratio is significantly better than it was last year. He has 78 strikeouts in 98 2/3 innings, a higher K rate than he had last year. He has 21 unintentional walks, a lower BB rate than he had last year. So his K/UIBB ratio is 3.71. Last year it was 3.03.

You want a reason to feel good about Carpenter going forward? That’s it. Guys with those kinds of peripherals get sorted out. He’s going to be fine. Heck, he was more than fine on Friday night. He was outstanding and unlucky.

And, finally, a late-night playlist:

Foster the People, “Pumped Up Kicks” (love this tune)
Foo Fighters, “Rope”
Freelance Whales, “Hannah”
Awolnation, “Sail”
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, “Belong”

-M.

Notes of the night/Stat of the day, April 13

Greetings, all, from my last stop on this road trip. I’ll be headed home tomorrow, getting a few days off before rejoining the club for the next homestand. I hate to miss out on Dodger Stadium, but two out of three cities on a trip is plenty in most cases. Here are your postgame notes and goodies…

Notes of the night:

* Matt Holliday said he was fine after being hit on the left hand by a pitch. He didn’t even seem to realize we were waiting for him after the game, to check on how he came through it. He said he had no plan to get any further examination.

* Likewise for Ryan Theriot — there were no issues for him after being hit on the forearm.

* Eduardo Sanchez was pretty impressive in his Major League debut, striking out five in two innings. When I approached him after the game, he was just putting down his phone. I asked him how many messages, and he said, “about a hundred.”

Stat of the day:

Despite their slow start, the Cardinals actually now have a positive run differential. They’ve outscored their opponents by four runs on the year.

-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, April 10

Note of the night: On just about any other day, Kyle Lohse would have been the hero of my game story. He was simply outstanding, allowing virtually no hard contact through the first six innings. His stuff was strong, his command was excellent. It was a superbly pitched game.

However, when a team scores as many runs in one game as it had in any previous two games, the story is the offense. So Lohse was relegated to second-fiddle status in the game story. Here on the blog, though, a little tip of the cap to Lohse.

When asked about the difference between now and when he was compromised physically, Lohse always points to command. He’s able to locate the ball much more than he was before. But it shows in his stuff, as well. His sinker was particularly impressive on Sunday, moving not only down but left-to-right.

“That’s [the] spin,” he said. “I might have been able to throw it 90 [mph] or whatever it was the last couple years, but there’s a difference between finishing a pitch and just kind of putting it out there and not being able to finish it. I might not have the sinker that you see as huge, but it’s late. That’s part of it and that’s part of why I’m encouraged the way I am right now, is I’m able to do that.”

Dave Duncan also pointed to the late movement on Lohse’s sinker. It’s one way you get weak groundballs, and that’s something that Lohse got plenty of on Sunday.

Lohse stopped short of saying that he can have another year like 2008, but he didn’t rule it out. And while I still think a fairer expectation is for him to return to the slightly less impressive form he showed for most of his career before ’08, I wouldn’t entirely rule out another ’08 either. One thing that’s sometimes forgotten: before Lohse got hurt in ’09, he was off to a very strong start. He had a 3.98 ERA when he first injured his forearm.

Again, it would be somewhat silly to predict a repeat of a guy’s career year. But it would probably also be silly to rule it out.

Stat of the day: The Cardinals are 14th in the National League in batting average, 14th in OBP and 16th in SLG, but they have the third-most walks in the league and the fewest strikeouts.

-M.

Note of the night and Stat of the Day, April 4

Note of the night: It was a rough, rough night at the plate for David Freese. The Cardinals third baseman went 0-for-4 with a double play and two strikeouts, despite coming to the plate with at least one runner on base in every one of his at-bats.

He actually hit the ball that brought in the first Cardinals run, grounding into a double play with men on first and third and no out in the second inning. That followed a sweet hit-and-run that had gotten Lance Berkman over to third. But Freese grounded out with men on first and second in the fourth, struck out with a man on first in the sixth, and struck out with a man on second in the eighth.

He’s a better hitter than that, and he’ll do better than that in the future. Moreover, he wasn’t alone — Yadier Molina had a rough one, going 0-for-4 and three times stranding a runner on base at the end of an inning. Those two spots in the order really were the difference on Monday. If the 6-7 hitters had been able to keep rallies alive, things might have looked a lot different.

“I was putting myself in bad counts, and when you do that at the big league level, you’re not going to do too well,” Freese said. “It was a rough night. I had a few opportunities to drive guys in and I couldn’t make it happen. … [Charlie Morton] made a good pitch when he needed to. That’s how you get Ws. They did a good job over there of getting timely hits, playing good defense and obviously pitching well.”

The point of this is not to pick on Freese, but rather to note the fine line. One hit from him (or Molina) in one of those situations, it might be a much different game.

I’ll preach this a lot not only in the first few days but even the first couple of months of the season: it’s four games. If the Cardinals were 4-0 and had scored 30 runs, I’d be cautioning people not to buy World Series tickets. Because they’re 1-3 and have scored 11 runs, the requisite perspective is to know that there are some hitters in this lineup and they shouldn’t hit like this all year.

But for now, yeah, it’s not looking real good on the offensive side of things.

* Stat of the day: Brian Tallet has faced seven batters and none of them has reached base. He’s struck out three without issuing a walk, and 18 of his 29 pitches have gone for strikes.

I tweeted this earlier, and I think it’s true: there haven’t been many pleasant surprises in the early going, but Tallet has to count as one. And his usage pattern has been interesting. He hasn’t been a one batter guy. Two games, seven outs. There’s a role the Cardinals really haven’t had succesffully filled in a while, and it’s the left-hander who’s not strictly a one-batter guy.

If Tallet could be that one-inning lefty, a guy you bring in for an inning with mostly but not all left-handed hitters, he could be quite valuable. Think Steve Kline at his best for an idea of the role (though not necessarily of the type of pitcher). Now, to live by my own guidelines, I’m not turning Tallet into that guy after two games. But I think it bears watching.

G’night…
-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, March 31

Note of the night: As you may have heard, Albert Pujols had a bit of a rough one at the plate today. He hit a couple of balls harder than the results might show, but in the end, eight outs in a game is eight outs in a game. And that’s what Pujols had: 0-for-5 with three double plays.

 

He’s never before had a game with more than five hitless at-bats, and he’s never had an 0-for-5 with more than one double play. It was the 29th 0-for-5 of Pujols’ career. Only eight previous times had he even hit into two double plays. By my rough count, Pujols had never made more than six outs at the plate in a single game, and on Thursday he made eight.

 

As for the historical context, there was plenty. MLB Network reported that it’s the first time since double plays have been kept as a stat that a player grounded into three in an Opening Day game. According to STATS Inc., it was the 100th time in history that a player has grounded into three or more DPs in any game. Joe Torre has the only 4 GIDP game in history, on July 21, 1975.

 

“It’s a bad game, man,” Pujols said. “Am I going to shoot myself up? It’s just a bad game and that’s it. That’s the way it goes. That’s baseball.”

 

You’re probably going to read that quote several different ways tonight and tomorrow morning. The exact words he said were “shoot myself up,” but it was very clear in talking to him that he mixed a couple of expressions together, as all of us do sometimes. I think it’s the unfortunate combination of “Am I going to shoot myself?” and “Am I going to beat myself up?” Many of you may not care about this kind of minutiae, but those of us in the press box all talked about it quite a bit as we were walking back from the clubhouse.

 

* Note — a good deal of this research is courtesy of the amazing Baseball-Reference.com Play Index.

 

Stat of the day: Today’s stat of the day looks ahead, but I think it’s a cool one. I discovered it in putting together the “probable starter” blurb for Chris Carpenter’s next start.

 

The last 13 times Carpenter has faced the Pirates, the Cardinals have won the game. In those games, Carpenter is 10-0 with a 1.85 ERA. He’s racked up 97 1/3 innings, an average of 7.49 per start, with 88 strikeouts, 19 walks and five home runs allowed.

 

That’s pretty good.

 

G’night…

-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, Sept. 28

Note of the night: Don’t look now, but Matt Holliday is having, well, a Matt Holliday kind of season. 

His slash lines:
2008: 321/409/538
2009: 313/394/515
2010: 313/389/539
That’s almost eerily consistent. Of course, he didn’t just hit 310/390/540 every week of the season. He’s come on extremely strong lately, including a 378/486/633 line in September. It started a bit ugly, but the end result is going to be exactly what the Cardinals signed up for.
Somewhat like Albert Pujols, Holliday is a bit reluctant to talk about trends. But he acknowledged that things are going well lately.
“I’ve had a pretty good month,” he said. “I don’t know what the numbers are. I feel like I’ve driven some runs in. It’s so day-to-day to me that I don’t really look at periods. But I feel good.”
Rather than the numbers, Holliday pointed to how he’s getting them.
“I feel like I’m seeing the ball well and hitting the fastball up the middle and pulling the offspeed,” he said. “Those are my points, trying to hit hard balls through the middle of the field, and if an offspeed pitch hangs, pull it.”
Stat of the day: After a 1-for-19 start to his big league career, Allen Craig has hit. Since the All-Star break, he’s at 286/333/468 in the Major Leagues (and, of course, crushing when he’s been down at AAA). 

I remain a Craig believer. I think he can hit, and I think he will hit at the big league level.

Fun with double situational splits: When Albert Pujols leads off an inning at home this year, he’s 20-for-42 (.476) with six walks, five strikeouts and eight extra-base hits, for a .542 on-base percentage and a .905 slugging percentage.

And, finally, the playlist:
I’ve been listening to the Drive-By Truckers pretty much incessantly lately, but an all-DBT playlist will have to wait until Saturday or Sunday in honor of their upcoming show at the Pageant. So instead, y’all get to take the reins tonight. Five suggestions from Twitter followers (@MatthewHLeach) are listed below:
Pearl Jam, “Do the Evolution”
Otis Redding, “Dock of the Bay”
Avett Brothers, “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise”
Mike Doughty, “I Hear the Bells”
The National, “Available”
-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, Sept. 9

Note of the night: Matt Holliday was ejected in the fourth inning on Thursday night after he argued a called third strike, making a bit of a show of it in the process.


Holliday flipped his bat away, walked away demonstratively and took his helmet off before finally flipping his helmet away as well — and that was the final straw that drew the ejection from home plate umpire Mike DiMuro.

I went back and forth on this a little with some people on Twitter, and here’s the truth of the matter: it almost doesn’t matter what Holliday said to DiMuro. You have a better chance of staying in the game if you stand still or walk away demurely while dropping a string of obscenities than you do with theatrical actions like Holliday’s.
In fact, if you watch the video (see the link here), you can clearly read Holliday’s lips as he says, “I didn’t say anything!” after he’s been tossed. But it’s just a truth of the game: making a show of things is a bigger transgression than salty language.
We didn’t get a chance to talk to Holliday after the game, but TLR did address the matter, and he didn’t seem too shocked by the decision.
“There’s a rule that allows you to keep a player in the game, and just [fine] him for the equipment. But DiMuro, he’s a good umpire. That was his good call. I know Matt didn’t curse him. He just questioned the call. But then he walked away and threw it. I think there’s an argument that that’s why that rule is in place. You can just fine him and keep him in the game.”
This really isn’t to pick on Holliday, although it may seem that way. Rather it’s to make a point that players know the rules, and fair or not, they are the rules. Personally, I saw the ejection coming, and I guarantee you that TLR and folks in the Cardinals dugout did too. Doesn’t mean it was the right call, but it wasn’t a surprising call at all — and therefore it would seem that it was avoidable.
Stat of the day: On May 14, Skip Schumaker was at 219/296/273. Since then, he’s batting an even .300 with a .353 on-base percentage and a .396 slugging percentage.
Now, those first six weeks did in fact happen. But that’s more than a half season, 90 team games, in which Schumaker is hitting exactly like you would have expected him to hit based on the previous two seasons.
Stat of the day, 2: Since injuring his knee in Washington, Yadier Molina is 8-for-38 (.211) with no walks, three strikeouts and one extra-base hit (admittedly a very big extra-base hit). Over the previous 35 games he had been at .339/.388/427.
Fun with double situational splits: Albert Pujols is batting .387 with a .441 OBP and slugging .759 in night games since the All-Star break.

And, finally, the playlist:
There’s so ridiculously much good music with Georgia connections, I don’t even know where to start. So let’s just kind of go all over the map.
R.E.M., “Pretty Persuasion”
Outkast, “Ms. Jackson”
Drive-By Truckers, “Wednesday”
Gnarls Barkley, “Smiley Faces”
B-52s, “Give Me Back My Man”
-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, August 30

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”
-M.

Notes of the night/Stat of the day, Aug. 26

Note of the Night, 1: Yes, Felipe Lopez was removed in the fifth inning on Thursday night. No injury was announced, so I theorized that it was simply a move for defense.


And, in a way, it was. Here’s TLR’s explanation for the move:

“It looked to me like Felipe’s arm was bothering him, so I made the change.”
I wasn’t able to talk to Lopez in the clubhouse postgame, so I will follow up tomorrow. 
Note of the Night, 2: This could have been a chess match, but I don’t think it really calls for one. I asked TLR about whether Bryan Anderson was an option in either of the situations where a pitcher batted.
He paused. Took a while. Sized it up. And decided to give an answer, thankfully.
Essentially, he argued that the first time, with a runner on first and two outs, it wasn’t enough of a potential scoring situation to burn his last position player. The second time, of course, there was a man in scoring position. But he said he added up the combination of Anderson being the last man on the bench AND the unlikelihood of his coming through against Doug Slaten, who has been a lefty-killer this year (9-for-60, 0 XBH, 5 BB, 21 K), and determined that it didn’t make sense.
The quote:
“I don’t think that was the move to make, going down to the last player. Catcher goes out… We had a way to go. If it had been an RBI situation… Lohse didn’t hit with a guy in scoring position. And then the last time up, it’s Slaten, and do you see what Slaten does to left-handers? I don’t think that was a good at-bat to give our last player a chance. Now if we had some protection, because I think Anderson would hang in there. but if he’s the last guy, against Slaten, a guy who’s wiping left-handers out, no, I didn’t think that was the way to go.”
In short, he seems to be arguing that if it had been a different pitcher, he’d have used Anderson, even as his last player. And if Anderson weren’t his last player, he might have used him, even against Slaten. But the combination ruled it out.
Note of the night, 3: At the end of the night tonight, Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch and I had a chat with Albert Pujols about his participation in this weekend’s Restoring Honor rally at the Mall in Washington. I have a story up on the topic on the site, but wanted to flesh it out a little bit more here. Basically, Pujols made it very clear that he wants no part of anything political, and that like TLR, he was assured that when he participates, it will not be political.
That’s not to say it won’t turn out that way. And it’s not to take sides regarding the politics of the organizers. But I came away from the conversation with no doubt in my mind that Pujols wants no part of a political event. Just for what that’s worth.
Stat of the day: The Cardinals have played 89 ninth innings this year, and scored in 30 of them, or 33.7 percent of the time. That’s their highest percentage in any inning except the 19th, where they’re 1-for-1. They’re averaging .72 runs per ninth inning, which is also their highest in any inning except the 19th. Their next most productive innings are the fifth and the first.

Fun with double situational splits: Against lefties, with runners in scoring position, Randy Winn had been 1-for-12 on the year before tonight.

And, finally, the playlist:
More Stones, sorry, but I’m on a kick lately. Five favorite live Stones tracks:
“Gimme Shelter,” Brussels 1973 (or ANY 72-73 show)
“Satisfaction/Uptight” from the 1972 US Tour, w/Stevie Wonder
“Some Girls” from the 99 No Security Tour
“Stray Cat Blues” from Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out
“It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll,” Aragon in Chicago, 2002 (w/Bono. I was there. It was amazing)
-M.
 

Stats of the day, August 24

As you might expect, the clubhouse wasn’t too chatty tonight, so no Note of the Night for you. Instead, hopefully the stats are tasty enough to tide you over. And as you might expect, I’ll be following this entry with a Chess Match.

Stat of the Day, 1: Adam Wainwright has a 5.51 ERA for his career at PNC Park. Yet Tuesday was the first time he had lost here in 10 games, eight of them starts. He had been 5-0 in Pittsburgh. He still has allowed only one homer at PNC in 50 2/3 innings.
Stat of the Day, 2: The Cardinals are tied with the Brewers for the second-best team OBP in the National League. They’re also now fifth in runs per game.
Stat of the Day, 3: Albert Pujols’ next double will be his 30th of the season. That will make him, according to Baseball-Reference.com, the third player in Major League history with at least 10 seasons of 30-plus home runs and 30-plus doubles. Not the third with 10 consecutive. The third to do it 10 times ever in his career. Admittedly, this says something about the era, since the other two players to do it are Manny Ramirez and Carlos Delgado. But even so, Pujols will be 10-for-10, while no one else in the history of the game has done it more than 10 times in total.
Stat of the Day, 4: Pujols’ OPS for August is 1.353. If he were to finish the month with that high a mark, it would be the second-highest for any month in his career, behind only April of 2006 (346/509/914, for a 1.423 OPS).

Fun with double situational splits: This Pujols fellow, he’s pretty good. In night games in August this year, he’s 28-for-56 (.500) with 11 extra-base hits for a .946 slugging percentage, and five walks for a .541 on-base percentage.

And, finally, the playlist:
I’ve been listening to a lot of Rolling Stones today, but stuff from outside the “canon.” So here are five favorites from less-heralded Stones albums.
“Connection” (from Between the Buttons)
“She’s So Cold” (from Emotional Rescue)
“Crazy Mama” (from Black and Blue)
“Too Tight” (from Bridges to Babylon)
“Almost Hear You Sigh” (from Steel Wheels)
-M.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 20,955 other followers