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Game 56 Open Thread: June 5, 2005

yesterday's game was basically a replay of the april 22 game against houston at busch stadium, also pitched by marquis. in that one, jason was staked to an 8-1 lead but gave some of it back, departed with two outs in the sixth, and watched the bullpen hang on for an 8-7 win; yesterday he got a 9-1 lead, again departed with two out in the sixth, and sweated out on 11-9 squeaker. marquis can't stand prosperity, apparently . . . . and the numbers back up the notion. jason pitches best when he gets the least support. when the cards score four or fewer behind him (7 starts), he holds opponents to a 2.80 era and yields just 7.2 hits per 9 innings. when supported by five runs or more (5 starts), he has an era of 4.55 and gives up 9.86 hits per 9 . . . . he's pitched his best games in tight low-scoring duels -- a 3-2 win over milwaukee april 17, a 4-2 win over the reds may 3, a 2-0 loss to pedro and the mets may 13. even his most recent start, a 5-4 win over against the rockies last week, falls into that category -- though the cards eventually scored five runs behind him (thanks to pujols' one-armed home run), the game was scoreless through four and tied 1-1 going into the bottom of the sixth. with a little better defense and some competent umpiring, marquis might well have pitched a shutout; anyway, he escaped with a win.

don't know what to make of the trend or whether it's just a random thing; something else to keep an eye on.

TLR shuffled his lineup yesterday for the second straight game, with edmonds hitting 2d, sanders 4h, grud'k 5th and larry walker 6th. likely just a short-term expedient, and you can follow tony's reasoning pretty easily:

  • edmonds is scuffling on this road trip and might see better pitches hitting in front of albert and snap out of his funk
  • the astros started lhp in both games; edmonds only has 1 hr in 36 ab against lhp this yr; while sanders has 5 in 46 ab
  • grud'k also murders lhp, slugging .500 against them this yr

i would expect everybody to be back in their accustomed slots against the rocket today . . . . but should they be? if you used to read curveblog, you know i enjoy ruminating endlessly about lineup construction -- spent several posts this spring assessing the pros/cons of batting larry walker in the leadoff slot. so now i'm going to ask: is there any merit to leaving edmonds in the #2 slot permanently, followed by pujols, rolen (when available), grud'k, walker, sanders, molina, and the pitcher?

i think theres' a case to made for it, but it'll take me a day or two to pull my thoughts together -- check the diaries section for a followup. in the meantime, what's your gut reaction: dumb idea? really dumb idea? interesting? meaningless? brilliant? lemme hear what you think. as a public service, here's a chart of the alternative lineup, with basic player stats appended:

standard lineup obp (2005/career) slg (2005/career) runs hr rbi
eckstein .378/.350 .389/.356 31 2 15
edmonds .394/.384 .533/.543 32 10 34
pujols .419/.413 .600/.622 41 14 44
rolen .347/.377 .477/.519 16 5 20
grud'k .368/.331 .464/.392 31 3 23
walker .346/.400 .432/.565 34 5 22
sanders .333/.344 .535/.489 27 11 28
molina .286/.306 .325/.339 16 2 17

clemens v mulder round 2 today. speaking of run support, the astros have scored just 18 runs behind the rocket all season (the cards scored 15 behind jason marquis in one game . . . ). mulder has benefited from 66 runs of support; the cards have scored at least five runs behind him in every start but three: may 9, four runs in a 4-2 win; may 31, mulder's last start, one run in a 2-1 loss; and april 23, clemens v mulder round 1, one run in a 1-0 win . . . .

mulder clemens
7-2, 3.62 3-3, 1.30