Borne Back Ceaselessly Into the Past

Okay, so who had a two-hit shutout in the pool? No one? Really? Huh, that's weird. You would think that someone would have predicted a pitcher of Jo-El's obvious brilliance to shut down the Metropolitans quite roundly.

Personally, I now find myself in the odd position of rooting for the Mets to win their division. Why, you ask? Because if the Cardinals were to meet the Mets in the playoffs, there's no way the Cards could possibly lose. All they would have to do is throw Jo-El in every game, and we would have a nice, clean sweep. Unfortunately, I have yet to come up with a good rhyme for Pineiro, thus I cannot offer you anything as charming as Spahn and Sain and pray for rain.  Maybe Joel Joel and hope like hell?

So as I was doing my standard postgame research, reading the various blogs and news stories and all the myriad sources of Cardinalia, I happened upon this little gem over at Gateway Redbirds:

Name  K/9 BB/ HR/9
Joel Pineiro     4.2 1.2 0.2
Christy Mathewson   4.7 1.6 0.2

 Rather eerie, isn't it? A poster by the name of Haltz, who also occasionally pops by here, is responsible for this info, and it got me to thinking. Thus, with a firm assist given to Haltz, I present to you Joel Pineiro: Jazz Age Superstar.

Name K/9 BB/9 HR/9 H/9
Joel Pineiro, 2009 4.2 1.2 0.2 9.4
Cy Young 3.5 1.5 0.2 8.7
Pete Alexander 3.8 1.6 0.3 8.4
Kid Nichols 3.3 2.3 0.3 8.7
Old Hoss Radbourn 3.6 1.7 0.2 8.6
Eddie Plank 4.5 2.1 0.1 7.9
Mickey Welch 3.5 2.4 0.2 8.6
Pud Galvin 2.7 1.1 0.2 9.6

 So, what can we glean from this table? Well, first off, Joel has essentially transformed himself into a Hall of Famer from the Dead Ball Era. Secondly, very few of these pitchers actually fit into the Jazz Age, but the phrase Jazz Age Superstar just sounds really cool, and my Gatsby line doesn't work if I try to modify it for the period of time from 1895-1915. So there.

Honestly, I have no idea if this tells us anything real or useful, but I think it's interesting, at the very least, that each time we watch Joel take the mound this season, we're essentially seeing pitching much the same way as it was in the earliest days of the game. Very few strikeouts, very few walks, and very, very few home runs.

And really, last night's game against the Metropolitans of New York was exactly the sort of contest one might expect to see in the aughts. The Mets seemed to swing at nearly everything, putting the ball into play constantly early in the count. Let's face it, no matter how efficient a pitcher is working on a given night, he has to have some help from the opposing batters to go nine in 100 pitches. (Hopefully, the Cardinals were taking notes on exactly how not to go about scoring runs.) Watching last night's game, it felt as if it should all be at that faster rate of speed that early film always recorded things at, along with a soundtrack by way of Scott Joplin.

There is one other thing we can pretty solidly deduce from looking at these numbers, and it's not nearly so good a news as the other stuff. The most similar number throughout all those stat lines is the HR/9 number. Of course, one would expect that from most of those players; after all, they are Hall of Famers from an era in which home runs were extremely scarce top to bottom most years. The problem, of course, is that Joel Pineiro is not a Hall of Famer, and when the Cardinal travel to Pittsburgh, they aren't playing in Forbes Field and it's 457' power alley to left-center.

What I'm saying is that as well as Joel is pitching this year, and he has been brilliant at times, a huge portion of his success has been predicated on his ability to avoid the long ball. And in this current era of baseball, he simply isn't going to be able to sustain that indefinitely. It actually dovetails somewhat with what I was talking about last week, when we were discussing possible stresses on a pitcher. (By the way, I've taken all of the ideas and concepts discussed under advisement, and will do a bit more work with that whole thing when I have some extra time.) Pitchers nowadays have to concentrate so much harder on every single pitch, in large part because any hitter can hit the ball out of the park at pretty much any time. You can't simply work at a lower intensity until a couple of runners get on; if you try, you'll likely end up taking an early shower.

For now, though, I'm just going to enjoy possibly the most unexpected development of all in this bizarre, completely unexpected season: Joel Pineiro is a really good pitcher right now. A really good pitcher from before the advent of radio, yes, but a really good pitcher nonetheless.

And now for the Baron's playlist for this week. The other day, I was digging around in my attic, cleaning out a couple of old totes of stuff I've had hanging around for more years than I care to count. At the bottom of one of the totes full of stuff that had actually followed me from my parents' house (and I haven't lived at home for about nine years now), I found an old cassette tape. On it was an installment of Les Aran's New Music Sunday from sometime in early 1998. My girlfriend from our senior year of high school taped it for me (in fact, it was the same girl I wrote about back at Christmas time), and I had been dragging it behind me ever since.

Anyhow, I drug out my old tape deck, hooked it up, and popped in the tape, and was immediately shocked by just how good everything on it seemed. I suppose that's one of the easiest ways you can tell just how fucking old you're getting, whenever all the old stuff feels better to you than the new stuff, and far better than it ever was to begin with.

Bentley Rhythm Ace- Bentley's Gonna Sort You Out

Fatboy Slim- Going Out of my Head

Roni Size- It's Jazzy

Pulp- Like a Friend

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