Between the Lines by Bob Ryan

Sometimes we think we have an answer…sometimes we know we don’t …and sometimes we have to look between the lines to get the answers…for example… Current thought by most StL baseball fans….Cards bullpen stinks… that it is probably the worst in the league….looking between the lines at the Cards pen statistically…

Batting average vs all MLB bullpens is .245…for the Cards it’s .258 (23rd in league)

ERA vs all MLB bullpens is 4.14..for the Cards its 4.32 (19th in league)

The fewest innings pitched by the bullpen of any team is Washington-230, the Cards are 8th fewest with 266..Cincy has the most with 329 innings…so we aren’t getting overworked by comparison to other teams use

Colorado has 29 saves (#1 in the MLB)…Cards have 24 (tied for #5)

Boston leads the league in fewest runs permitted-90; Cards are tied for 12th with 139

Houston’s bullpen has the most wins-30….Cards are tied for dead last (29th-30th) with 8 wins

Washington’s bullpen has given the fewest walks (80); Cards are 7th with 101 walks

Conclusion….Cards bullpen isn’t quite as bad as most fans think it is and it isn’t as good as Matheny thinks it is J

It’s a C or C- level bullpen by the numbers…These stats are from July 5th so they may have changed just a tad since then…but you get the idea

 

In a response last week, a reader commented that Stan & Albert must have experienced some “off” years at some point of their careers.…looking between the lines at their careers…

Stan hit over .300 his first 17 years…dropped below .300 as a 38 year old player.

Stan’s best year was 1946…he led the league…not just the Cardinals in plate appearance (702), runs (124), hits (228), doubles-50, triples-20, batting average .365, slugging % .587, OPS 1.021

Stan led the league in runs scored 5x, hits 6x, doubles-8x, triples-5x, rbi-2x, walks-once, won batting crown 7x, highest OBP in league-6x, highest slugging % 6x, highest OPS-7x…at 41 years of age, Stan hit .330 with 505 plate appearances…lifetime average was .331…I guess you COULD say that Stan was off when he was 38, 39, 40 and 42 years old…but you’d be awfully harsh

Albert hit over .300 his first 10 years…oh heck…give him the 11th year..he hit .299 as a 31 year old player (if you believe his age..which I don’t..and which makes these numbers even more impressive)..Albert led the league in runs 5x, hits once, doubles-once, HR-2x, RBI-once, OBP-once, slugging %-3x, OPS-3x. Albert’s current career batting average is .307.  Putting that in perspective…only 21 current players are hitting over .307 THIS YEAR..not for their career…just this year!  The Stats of both of these Cardinal stars are really, really incredible…I would say that…for the first 11 years of both of their careers….they DIDN’T have any “off” years…and for Stan..it  went through 17 years of  being golden…

 

After all the “issues” of drug abuse….the Tour de’France disqualifies a rider for a collision in the final hectic sprint to the finish line….why?  between the lines…the Tour has been ridiculed for ignoring all the doping taking place for several years…I think this was an attempt to show that the organizers of the tour now have control…control of everything…there will be no more cheating…..yada-yada-yada….it was rather humorous to hear the analysts of the Tour talk for 15 minutes, immediately after the accident and prior to the ruling about how it was purely accidental and that it was “one of those things that happen”….when they came back on hours later on the replay show .. they were still wiping the egg off their face J

 

Hitting is dominating MLB….looking between the lines….it all depends how you define hitting…if you mean banging HR..yes…if you mean hitting .300..not so much…the .300 mark was/is a common measure of good hitting for many decades…last Friday nights box scores showed just 12 of the 30 MLB teams (40% of the teams) did not have at least ONE .300 hitter in their lineup…so without baserunners…not nearly as much action on the field

 

So why was Carp moved to off 1B when a) moving Carp from 1B while Peralta was fumbling around at 3B seemed logical at the time but it wasn’t done b) Wong is returning shortly  c) Voit just came up from the minors? This is a conundrum….but looking between the lines….Early in the year, when Peralta was still a Cardinal, the Cards still were hanging onto high hopes of a ‘turnaround” so mgmt. &/or Matheny didn’t want to tamper with Carpenter being moved around….now as we’re past the half way point of the season, the realization has sunk in that we probably will/should make some significant moves…another consideration…one or all of the three players is/are on the trade block…I think Carpenter is the key….most teams have slugging 1B already…but slugging 2B are tough to find…and defense doesn’t seem to matter as much as it did 50 years ago…..Wong has been up/down and has experienced his share of injuries already but some teams may want to take the chance on him—he’s relatively cheap for the next several years… Voit appears to be a rt-handed hitter pinch-hitter/platoon type for most teams…if he goes, he’ll be part of a much larger trade…

 

What’s this about an epidemic spreading across the USA?  Between the lines…it’s really not a bad epidemic but it seems to be taking the country by storm…it’s the introduction of a new sport—Called Pickleball…it’s a 2 man game…go to this link for more info   https://www.usapa.org/rules-summary/  People are loving it! When you’ve tried it and feel confident of your skills….call our friend Vince DeGreef…Vince excels in Pickleball…just as he did in basketball in his younger years.

 

With the Marlins in yet another “clean house” mode…it seems like a bi-annual occurrence….which player is most appealing…from my view its Stanton…sure he makes $30m but….he’d be the face of your franchise…he would be the star that the Cards don’t have now…Miami is always looking for cheaper players…prospects who have raving reviews but have little experience @ MLB level…..go big in quantity…Piscotty &/or Grichuk, Rosenthal &/or Oh (Marlins are horrible in pen),  Luke Weaver, another top minor league relief pitcher or Bowman,  or Carpenter with 2 of the above names….now that would excite the Cardinal fans and improve the team.

 

Jaromir Jager is waiting to be signed as a free agent….between the lines…he’s 46 years old…hockey..like all pro sports is really a young mans game…sure he had 46 points last year—4th on the team but come on big boy…you’ve had your day in the sun…it’s time to hang up the hockey stick with a smile..not sitting at phone waiting for a call

 

The Astros are playing well….huh?….between the lines…that’s a huge understatement….at the current rate (59-28), Houston will win 109 games…that’s quite a bit better than playing “well”..while the Astros have been known to be creative in many ways in developing their roster …they have done it in a traditional way in one way…being strong up the middle… great middle infielders in Altuve & Correra with a tremendous CF in George Springer and in catcher Evan Gattis a so-so receiver but a .281 average and an OPS of .786..high for catchers

 

I thought my eyes were playing tricks last week when I scanned the Cubs box score  for Thursday and I saw John Jay 1 inning…huh?  Between the lines…this is the “new” way of saving the pen…use field players to pitch when far behind in a game…behind 9-1 after 3 inn & 11-2 after 5 inn.. the Cubs wanted to save the arms in the bullpen… decades ago..when teams had a 4 man rotation, a promising, young pitcher was the 5th man… he’d pitch in doubleheaders, in the midst of several consecutive games or come in early in “blow out” situations and be expected to gobble innings while refining his craft..this is how Bob Gibson broke in.. it could still be done with a 6th starter ..instead the fans watched the blazing fastballs of OF John Jay that averaged 57mph… he even threw a “change up”….that was at a snail-like speed of  47mph…I wonder if the fans felt cheated by this imposter?

 

The Brewers are in 1st place at the All-Star break….they are talking the talk about being contenders….between the lines…if the Brewers DON’T go out and  procure more starting pitching (like Sonny Gray, Quintana, or some other quality pitcher)….then they really DON’T believe that they are contenders and it’s just talk.

 

Another comment last week in the replies to my blog…on the fact that fans are “so down” on the Cards..much more so than in years past when the Cards were mediocre…look at the 70’s, early 90’s….those were some middle-of-the-pack teams…so why are people so negative now?…looking between the lines….times have changed…wow! Big news!…..there are several new considerations since those days gone by…1) all of the social media …which is generally negative…constantly “picks” at all of the Mgr moves or the actions of the players on a daily basis…2) now we can watch every single game to see for ourselves the plays being made or not made each day by the players…on the radio the mistakes are described well but don’t remain as vivid in our mind.. 3) so many people have identified themselves as “the Cardinals”…their good days and bad days are based on the wins &/or losses of the Cards…years ago, MLB baseball was viewed more as entertainment and wasn’t nearly so personal….recently some OOT visitors told us that they were very surprised by all the Cardinal gear being worn around town … wherever you go…all this leads to the self-identification with the Birds  4) financial gain for some….it’s clear when you watch games that there are often many visitors in the green seats or box seats close to the field… those OOT folks have procured them on stub-hub or some other outlet….some season ticket holders are profiting from the Cards success by selling those tickets…when Cards lose…value declines…so they really want the Cards to win…..none of this is wrong or bad….but it does lead to much higher set of expectations, more personal identification with the Cardinals and a deeper frustration when the Cards aren’t succeeding.

 

All the talk that we hear about is the powerful NY Yankees…their youthful sluggers, the magic of Yankee Stadium, the addition of Matt Holliday..well between the lines…the Boston Red Sox are in 1st place in the AL Eastern Division by 4.5 games..the BoSox seemed to have successfully “turned over” their starting lineup… the everyday starting lineup seems to be set up for a few years…Xander Bogerts, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr..and the acquisition of Chris Sale…arguably the best AL starter sets them up for playoff series.

 

The Phillies most available asset is Pat Neshek….they have other good young players but Neshek is the type of player who can step in and contribute “right now”….his stats include 9 holds and just 1 save…but…that’s for the lowly Phillies…he’ll be 37 years old shortly….between the lines…the Phils aren’t moving out of the basement…..his annual $6.5mil is manageable for the contending teams for half a season …he’s in the last year of his contract…so they should be talking with contending teams about getting more young prospects because they aren’t going anyplace this year and probably won’t resign him…hopefully…for the Phils  sake…they’ll hit on a good prospect… likely destination—Washington Nationals

 

Yesteday’s games saw free-swinging, high scoring games…take a look at the scores of 8 of the 15 MLB games- 19-1, 14-3, 7-1, 11-5, 6-0, 10-0, 10-8, 10-5..why the outbreak?…between the lines….with a 4 day break for the majority of players….most players had their flights booked to go home or to go on a quick vaca or just get away from baseball….they werent’ going to miss those flights so they went into the batters box swinging…good!

 

Dorial Green Beckham is looking for another NFL team….this misfit was booted out of Mizzou, went to OU for a year-sat out then declared for NFL, drafted in 2nd round by Tenn Titans, in 1 year traded to Philadelphia..now another year down the road, he’s released by the Eagles…between the lines….it doesn’t matter how fast or agile Green-Beckham shows in workouts….he’s a non-performer..all he has at this time is a resume of “mighta been”

 

Continue to send in YOUR thoughts….just do it directly below the article…or if you prefer, email it to me…we’re not trying to stir everyone up or name-call…between the lines….others may just want to read some differing ideas…Happy All-Star game

 

Comments

  1. Stan Musial probably would have done better in his latter years had it not for Solly Hemus being given the managerial job in 1959. He decided that Musial’s career was over and only platooned him from ’59 thru ’61. Once Hemus was fired half way through 1961, Musial returned to the starting line up and, as you pointed out, hit .330 in 1962 as a starter.

    I agree with you that Carpenter is the best trade bait on the team. He can’t run the bases, he is an average fielder at best, his average is in the .230’s and has decent power. His best years are behind him. Funny how the shine of hitting lead off has now worn off. After a three week spurt of hitting .300 in that spot, he has now gone back to being a .230 hitter. Every time he leads off with a hit, its station to station trying to get him around the bases. I would package him with Wong and Grichuck (I have been pushing those two since spring training) to get a reliever and a power hitter. I think DeJong can be the shortstop and give Mehia a shot a second. Gyrko can play third and put the new power hitter acquired on 1st base with Voit being the big man off of the bench.

  2. Joe Parisi says:

    Strange 1st half to MLB season… lots of new faces in ’17 All Star game…”changing of the guard”.

    Unless a deal ( or deals) are made, too many vying for playing time in Cards daily line up.
    Injuries have made line up juggling easier, but players and fans will quickly grow weary of daily line up shifts. FOWLER has no intention of giving up CF for Pham, and Pham won’t sit in favor of Grichuk and Piscotty. Look for controversy!!

    Home Run contest a bit better with Aaron Jusge and Cody Belanger participating. Actually missed Chris ( back back) Berman. Contest could be shortened, as it does somewhat drag on.

    Saw pics on FB of Ryan family vaca…looks like a great time!

  3. The long ball and swinging for the fences is what most people want to see. I myself like to see small ball and manufacturing runs like Whitey use to do. I think the Cubs are the only ones that still use the squeeze play or just a safety bunt. Heck, most of the Cardinals can’t even lay a bunt down. Bunting, pitchers throwing to 1st base and catchers not being able to block balls in the dirt have been a real sore spot for me. That stuff is fundamentally sound practice and should be a given not problematic. And how many times have you seen the pitcher not getting over to cover 1st base or late getting there? It’s a mess and quite frankly sloppy baseball. I think the real problem today is that are too many teams and not enough REAL PROFESSIONAL PLAYERS. MLB is watered down with minor league players in my mind.

    One statistic that I would like to see tallied (I’m sure somebody has it recorded as they record everything else) is the number of times there are base running errors. And, I think they should be counted as errors. How many times do the Cardinals run themselves out of an inning or a potentially big inning…..it’s amazing to me.

    Trade time in my mind. I wouldn’t mind trading Carpenter but I sort of think that we would get something more for Tommy Pham. I know people have said he has been the spark plug the past month since he returned and I think that might be right. Therefore, I think a lot of teams might be interested in him along with Rosey or Oh. Throw in Grichuck or Wong (or both) to get Stanton. The fans would love to see Stanton on this team and in a Cardinal uniform. Stanton could own this town just like Albert did when he was here. It would be a GREAT move but that won’t happen. We are too busy making moves in the front office. People could care less about the Cardinals big move of promoting Mo to VP of Operations. And to listen to Dewitt explain the intricacies of how difficult the operations are today was amazing. I thought I was going to upchuck as I listened to those three guys sitting there talking about making this the best team on the planet. As long as they get 3 million people in the seats they are happy. And, they are hoping that 50% or more of those in attendance stop at Ballpark Village before and after the games. Great business move on their part to put in BPV. However, I have seen more empty seats lately when I watch the game on TV. Maybe the seats are sold and the folks just aren’t coming to the game. Maybe it’s the heat as I know the two games we went the sun just about melted us. I don’t want to go to any more games this year if I can help it. I just think it’s boring and too long. And, when they don’t hit it just drags on and on and on……your stat on the number of .300 hitters in the league this year is amazing. Do we have better pitchers or are players just swinging away at everything that is close? I’m not sure the Cardinals have any .300 hitters other than maybe Dejong and Voit. Names so new that when they are announcing the game on the radio I have to wonder what happened to the team I use to know. But both guys are on fire so keep playing them or put one of them in a trade to get Stanton.

    I can’t believe the way the Cubs are playing but I’m happy for their manager. I don’t care for him and the move to put Jon Jay in as a pitcher so early was a big time managerial move. I like the manager of the Brewers and think he has done a good job however, I don’t think they will win the Central Division. I do think the Cubs will catch fire and will eventually win the division. The fact that the Cardinals are still in the race is a testament to how weak the division is at this point.

    I did watch the Greenbriar Golf Tournament over the weekend a bit and I can’t say I recognized too many names in the top 20 golfers. No Spieth, Fowler, Mickelson, Day, Johnson, McElroy etc. etc. etc. I thought maybe those guys didn’t take the time to play in the tournament but about half of them didn’t make the cut. Golf is funny that way as there are so many good golfers and many are just inconsistent. But the money is BIG and if I would have had any sense, I would have taken up golf rather than playing soccer. Nobody kicks you when you’re golfing and you get to participate every hole. I think someone said that in a 90 minute soccer game a player might have possession of the ball a total of about 3 minutes at best if that. I must admit I watched a bit of a few games over the weekend and quite frankly I was bored to tears.

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