A Slap in the Face of Peripherals! A Manifesto! By the Poet Miguel Batista!

WASHINGTON - JULY 30: Katherine Connors Miss Iowa 2010 poses for photos with Miguel Batista #43 of the Washington Nationals. Their pose is a slap in the face of the 24-hour news cycle's spiteful machinations!!

1. We alone are the face of our Bullpen! Through us the horn of time blows the art of save-blowing!

2. The spreadsheets are too tight! FIP and SIERA are less intelligible than hieroglyphics!

3. Who, trustingly, would turn his last love toward Voros McCracken's perfumed lechery? Is this the reflection of today's virile soul?

4. Who, faint-heartedly, would fear tearing from Eric Gagne's novelty t-shirt the false goatee? Or does the dawn of unknown blowouts shine from it? 

5. Wash your hands which have touched the filthy slime of the lineup cards written by scoundrel committees!

6. We order that veteran relievers' rights be revered! To feel an insurmountable hatred for the statistics existing after their time! To push with horror off their proud brow the Wreath of fielding-independent success that You have made from bathhouse switches! To stand on the rock of the word "veteran" amidst the seas of boos and outrage! And if for the time being the filthy stigmas of your "common sense" and "repeatable success" are still present in our line scores, these same line scores for the first time already glimmer with the Summer Lightning of the New Coming Beauty of the Ten Walk No-Hitter !! 

SIGNED, RYAN FRANKLIN!! and THE POET MIGUEL BATISTA!!

MOZELIAK: ...

MOZELIAK: Do you want to explain this? I found it nailed to my door this morning.

FRANKLIN: That sockdologizing old man-trap—!

ONE DAY EARLIER

BATISTA [looking approximately like this]: ... Which is why no man!! No tradition!! No mathematical scheme!! can keep us from—Franklin!! I didn't expect to see you here!!

FRANKLIN: In the bullpen? I'm here every night, Miguel. 

BATISTA: Normally you don't come to the readings!! I was just forwarding a petition!! About—

FRANKLIN: Miguel you sockdologizing old man-trap I don't exactly have the security with the big cheeses to risk something like—

BATISTA: —beard banning. About beard-banning. Banning it!!

FRANKLIN: The Gillette Fusion ProGlide lobby again, I suspect... I suppose I don't see the harm. 

ONE DAY LATER

1. Miguel Batista needs to stop passing off the work of Russian Futurists as his own. 

SIGNED, Colby Rasmus AND ALSO Kyle Lohse he stole my futuristic chair that's shaped like a hand and he uses it for the readings

MOZELIAK: ...

MOZELIAK: Do you want to explain this? I found it nailed to my door this morning.

RASMUS: ...

#

Miguel Batista now has an ERA of 2.01 with a K:BB ratio of 1.00. After the jump: Some other Cardinals relievers who've managed to throw off the chains that shackle them to normality, and also FIPs below four. Here are the five worst seasons, by strikeout-to-walk ratio, for Cardinals relievers who've managed an ERA under 3.50 in the La Russa/Duncan era. 

Honorable mention: Steve Kline 2001 somehow managed to sneak his ERA, 1.80, in underneath his K:BB ratio, 1.86. Left-handers are crafty. 

5. Dennys Reyes 2009: ERA 3.29, K:BB 1.57. Lefty specialists frighten and confuse me. Reyes was pretty good at his job in 2009; lefties hit .207/.288/.228 against him, and they were well more than half the batters he faced. But part of Reyes's job description involves being so incompetent against most of the hitters in Major League Baseball that he's better off just walking them, so in his 72 plate appearances against right-handers he turned out the Jack Cust-y line of .276/.408/.466. 

4. Kyle McClellan 2009: ERA 3.38, K:BB 1.50. Very few ostensibly effective Cardinals have bothered me as much as McClellan did after the 2009 season. His career, at that point, looked like a few happy accidents strung together into a set-up role in 2010—a nice Spring Training, a hot start to his rookie season while everybody else struggled, and then a sophomore year that looked, under the hood, like Chris Perez without the strikeouts. 

Obviously things got better after that, because I didn't catch fire when he was awarded the fifth starter's job. 

3. Ray King 2005: ERA 3.38, K:BB 1.44. Like Reyes, King combined a total inability to pitch to right-handers with a left-handed repertoire that involved finesse more than strikeouts. He also pitched just 40 innings in 77 games that year, which is truly impressive, and is listed on Baseball-Reference at 6'1", 225 pounds. 

2. Blake Hawksworth 2009: ERA 2.02, K:BB 1.33. This is the season Miguel Batista is gunning for in 2011, only he's doing it as a 40-year-old veteran and not a long-delayed rookie with an awesome name and a suddenly live fastball. Only Ryan Franklin (2009) and Steve Kline managed a lower ERA with a K:BB under two. 

1. Cory Bailey 1996: ERA 3.00, K:BB 1.27. There aren't many reliever careers more stereotypical than this one; Bailey bounced around as a minor league closer for the better part of 10 years, surfacing three times as an above-average relief pitcher—in 1996, 2001, and 2002. Don't sign relievers to long-term contracts. 

In case you were wondering, because they keep showing up on this list, the 2009 Cardinals bullpen had an ERA of 3.67 and a K:BB of 1.75. Top three: Trever Miller, 4.18; Jason Motte, 2.35; Brad Thompson, 2.25. 

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