Monday, April 11, 2005

Rough Start

To say the least.

The last 4 games - and especially the last 2 - are what tends to happen when the offense isn't hitting and the pitching isn't getting people out.

Pitching Bright Spots

Ray King, Cal Eldred, and Al Reyes have all looked good in relief. Reyes has been especially tough after a rough first outing, having now struck out 8 batters over 4.1 innings. Overall, they have a 2.07 ERA with 12 K's and 3 BB's over 8.2 innings pitched, giving the Cardinals a few relievers in the early going that appear as if they can be counted on.

Starting Staff Woes

Jason Marquis would appear to also be a bright spot, but his stats are misleading. He does have a K:BB ratio of 4 and an ERA of 1.50, but his 9 hits allowed over 6 innings is less than impressive.

Overall, the starting staff has a 1-3 record with a 6.50 ERA. They've struck out 13, walked 8, and given up 42 hits - over 26.1 innings. Obviously that's got to improve.

Hitting Bright Spots

David Eckstein is off to a great start, sporting a .476 OBP after 5 games. Unfortunately, he's only been driven in twice despite being on base almost half the time, showing how weak the offense has been.

Reggie Sanders has his power stroke going, sporting a .733 SLG thanks to 2 home runs and a double. It's nice to have him in the 7 slot (assuming the rest of the lineup starts producing soon.)

The Cardinal bench is off to a nice start as well. John Mabry, So Taguchi, Einar Diaz, and Abraham Nunez are hitting a combined .385/.429/.769 with 1 double, 2 home runs, and a walk.

Not So Much

Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, and Jim Edmonds are not quite in mid-season form just yet. So far they are hitting a combined .218/.283/.364 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs, and 5 walks. When your bench has the same number of home runs as the "MV3's" over 1/5 the number of at-bats....well, a 2-3 start is not only unsurprising, it's welcome.

Conclusions

After a great opening day, it's been a disappointing start to the season. The silver lining in my opinion is basically - they've played about as bad as imaginably possible yet still managed to go 2-3. Last year they also got off to a 2-3 start, with a major exception - they did so against Milwaukee and Arizona, both teams that were bad last year. This year they've done the same against teams that have a shot at the playoffs, especially Philadelphia. I have no doubt the hitting will get on track. (Jim Edmonds indicates that pitchers have been coming inside more, including the World Series last year - which he claims will be fixed.) I also have no doubt that the starting pitching will get on track - especially Carpenter and Mulder.

That doesn't make it any more fun this Monday morning, though.

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