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Sunday, May 23, 2021

BenFred: If Cardinals were not shopping for a starter before Saturday, they should be now

Miles Mikolas has been derailed again, and the answers the Cardinals hoped to see emerge from their internal options have not been convincing enough consistently enough for a team that plays its best baseball — a really fantastic brand of baseball, too — when quality starts are stacked one on top of the other.

The Cardinals entered this season with two healthy, proven starters — Jack Flaherty and Adam Wainwright — and a lot of positive thinking.

They hoped Carlos Martinez could bounce back big in a contract season.

They hoped John Gant and Daniel Ponce de Leon could turn long-awaited opportunity into success.

They hoped injured starters Kwang Hyun Kim and Mikolas could heal, rehab and get rolling as soon as they returned.

They hoped Johan Oviedo could be a secret-weapon sixth starter dropped in here and there to provide quality innings while helping teammates rest.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 23, 2021 at 01:01 PM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals

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   1. The Duke Posted: May 23, 2021 at 02:13 PM (#6020415)
Everyone could see Mikolas had no chance of being a long term option. He needs TJS no doubt.

Their real issue is a bullpen with only 3-4 good arms. If they can push Ponce De Leon and Gant to the bullpen with a decent fifth starter they will have solved both problems. They don’t need a great fifth starter - just one who can give them 6 decent innings. They have Tommy Parsons and Oviedo both of whom I would try first before getting rid of yet another all-star outfielder.
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 23, 2021 at 02:25 PM (#6020423)
just one who can give them 6 decent innings.

That's a 3rd starter now.
   3. The Honorable Ardo Posted: May 23, 2021 at 08:36 PM (#6020485)
A lot of teams would love to have the Cardinals' problems right now.
   4. TomH Posted: May 24, 2021 at 08:57 AM (#6020544)
Would a lot of teams be happy to have the Cardinals W-L record? Sure.
Would a lot of teams be happy with the same ERA as the Cardinals staff, 3.81, 11th out of 30 teams? Sure.

But... their underlying stats are a lot less happy.
Only +11 on runs scored/allowed shows they have won a ton of close games.

But more so, their ERA is just not sustainable given their KOs and BBs. They are LAST in most walks allowed, and near last in strikeouts. How can they have the 4th best opponents batting average? I see regression coming, unless they have a team full of Ozzie Smiths.
   5. DCA Posted: May 24, 2021 at 09:28 AM (#6020548)
unless they have a team full of Ozzie Smiths.

They kind of do. The primary fielder at every position is excellent.

Another thing they are doing - and it appears sustainable based on previous years - is keeping opponents HR down.
   6. McCoy Posted: May 24, 2021 at 10:24 AM (#6020555)
Go Cubs go.
   7. TomH Posted: May 24, 2021 at 10:27 AM (#6020557)
Yes, their D appears good. But

Cards opponents BABIP
2017-2020 cumulative .249
2021 to date .219
is their defense that much better than previous 4 years?

as far as HR suppression, their HR/9 IP 2017-2020 have been
1.1 0.9 1.2 1.3 - and this year 0.7.
So they are especially good in this regard so far in 2021. Again, I doubt they can keep this up. While HR are down across the board, the Cards have allowed 31, which is about HALF the average of the other 14 NL teams.
   8. bjhanke Posted: May 25, 2021 at 12:53 AM (#6020700)
The Cardinal defense is very good, due to a couple of hot new gloves and a couple of free agents. Goldsmith and Arenado have Gold Gloves at 1B and 3B. Harrison Bader ranks very high among CF. Yadier Molina isn't as good as he used to be, but he is still very good. The shortstop is very good. The second baseman is not as good as Kolten Wong was, but he is good. So, yes, they have an excellent defense, and yes, that defense is new. As a team, their biggest problem is that their hitters don't take many walks. Goldsmith's low walk rate is a surprise, but the team only has one veteran who is good at walks, and that one, Matt Carpenter, has forgotten how to hit.

I want to add a warning about Ben Frederickson, a STL daily "sports" writer who (BenFred) wrote the original column here. Frederickson hates sabermetrics. He has written this in his columns. His basic attitude is that statistics are an inexcusable intrusion on a game that has no use for them, and you should always go with "good feelings" and "your heart" when analyzing (or whatever you would call his stuff) baseball. Essentially, he writes "sports personality" columns that would fit right in People magazine. He almost never cites any advanced stat other than OPS, which is a garbage stat designed for fans and sportswriter whose math ability tops out at adding two three-digit numbers together with the help of a calculator. In other words, NOT a good source of info.

And, in this case, he is just doing what that kind of writer always ends up doing - overreacting to whatever happened yesterday. He, having noted that some of the Cardinal starters are hurt, just assumes that you can easily pick up, in mid-season, a 15-11 starter for the league minimum salary, when everybody knows you are looking for starters. Because, you know, getting into the wonderful world of actual baseball salaries would, you know, involve numbers. Can't do that, you know.

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