Monday, September 13, 2004

Weekend Recap

It wasn't a great weekend for Cardinal baseball, but it wasn't a lost cause either. Even though the Cardinals experienced their first losing road trip of the season (2-4), they avoided their longest losing streak by winning on Sunday, not having lost more than 3 in a row all season.

While I would have liked to have won one of the two series on the Left Coast, it's not the end of the world. If you're going to have a 2-4 week, you would prefer for it to happen against two potential playoff teams, on the road, on the West Coast. Neither team swept them, and the Cardinals still finished the season with 4-2 records against both teams. Added to all of that, the Cardinals did not have a game during the entire road trip with all cylinders firing, as Walker sat out all of three games, Rolen parts or all of the other three.

Let's take a closer look at the weekend series specifically in a little more detail.

Offense

Cardinals - .298/.365/.500 - 865 OPS
Dodgers - .294/.357/.510 - 867 OPS

You can't get much more even than that over a three game span. The Dodgers numbers are helped by a 4 home run night on Friday, along with 3 hit batsman on Saturday (two of which were of the Fernando Vina type, in my opinion.) But nonetheless, both teams put together a good offensive series.

Starting Pitching

Cardinals - 16.1 innings, 6.63 ERA, 16 K's, 5 BB's
Dodgers - 13 innings, 9.69 ERA, 9 K's, 3 BB's

As bad as the Cardinal starters were, they were better than their counterparts. I'd like to think that the Marquis start on Friday night was a fluke, considering that he had found out that he was a daddy earlier in the evening.

Relief Pitching

Cardinals - 8.2 innings, 4.14 ERA, 7 K's, 2 BB's
Dodgers - 14 innings, 2.57 ERA, 9 K's, 7 BB's

Here was where the Dodgers were able to make up the difference in this series, in my mind. Despite working 14 innings over 3 days, the Dodgers bullpen got the job done. The lack of strikeouts and large number of walks suggests that they may not have been as dominant as one would like, however. And the fact that the Cardinals got 2 hits including a home run plus a walk off of Gagne on Friday should give them something to build upon.

Defense

It's hard to look at defensive numbers over a 3 game series and get anything meaningful from it. I will say that both teams made 3 errors, which is unusual for the best 2 defesive teams in the NL. I would like to think that Scott Rolen at third would have helped the defense a little, but it likely wouldn't have made a difference in this series.

All in all, it was a pretty decent weekend, all three games decided by one run. The Cardinals could have won all three, could have dropped all three. In other words, it was a good example of playoff baseball, between two teams that will be in the mix in 3 weeks. And while it's easy to be down about dropping 2 series in a row, I don't think it's quite time to be predicting the death of the Cardinals in 2004. Look at the weekend that just closed as a preview of the type of games we will get to enjoy in the not too distant future (but with a different outcome, hopefully).


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