Game 47 Open Thread: May 24, 2006

carpenter           lowry
4-2, 2.63            1-1, 3.38

first things first: carp's back is acting up again, and he might miss his start this afternoon. if he does, it'll be a bullpen game, with hancock likely starting. if it comes to that, at least the schedule sets up conveniently; the pen sat yesterday (except for izzy) and tomorrow's an off-day.

Update [2006-5-24 11:53:50 by lboros]: miklasz says hancock will start:

Hancock was told late last night that he'd be starting in place of Carpenter.

I guess if Carpenter shows up and demands the ball, it's an open question. But they weren't planning on him starting.

Update [2006-5-24 13:49:13 by lboros]: per reader Matt, the official site now lists brad thompson as today's starter; post-dispatch reports the same. the pitcher who follows him will depend on the score and inning.

jason marquis now leads the team in wins, with 6; i have no idea what kind of pitcher he is any more. during this little 3-game win streak he's on, he has recorded an equal number of groundouts and flyouts (32 apiece) and struck out only 5 guys. as far as i can tell, he's simply throwing it over the plate and hoping for the best. and his hopes have been fulfilled thus far: per fangraphs, he's allowing a BABIP (batting average on balls in play) of just .240, which is inordinately low. marquis' career BABIP is .284, well within the normal range for pitchers; he is almost certain to regress to that standard, which means more of the balls hit off him are likely to start finding holes. i'm not going to go into a deep discussion of BABIP here (we had a long one this off-season -- see parts one, two, and three), but the upshot is that a pitcher with an exceedingly low BABIP has probably been more lucky than good -- and hence unlikely to maintain his present level of effectiveness.

trade him now, while he still looks like an 18-game winner.

a thought on the scouting-dontrelle rumor, referenced yesterday: he has a career-long pattern of losing effectiveness as the innings pile up. in each of his first three seasons, his numbers dropped off after the all-star game -- dramatically so, in two of those years. last season he threw 236 innings, a 20 percent increase over his previous career high; then he disrupted his training this spring to pitch in the WBC. this season his command is way off -- not only is his walk rate higher than it has been since his rookie season, but he also has plunked 7 batters already. that's not to say that he can't right the ship, but it does give you pause.

here's a touching article about the scout who signed pujols. he now stocks shelves at a wal-mart in arkansas.

and here's a peek at joe sheehan's breakdown of the cardinals' early-season success, posted yesterday at baseball prospectus:

you have a team that doesn't walk people, doesn't allow home runs, doesn't allow you to reach base on balls in play and keeps the double play in order. That's how you lead the league in ERA, allow the fewest runs in the league and hold a three-game lead in the division. The presence of Pujols, Rolen and Edmonds means that people don't refer to the Cardinals as a "pitching and defense" team, but that is exactly what they have been this season.

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