looks like it was an interesting game yesterday, to judge by the box score. i missed the whole thing and hence don't have much to say about it, other than this: chris carpenter's debt for his good luck in the w-l column last season has apparently come due. on five separate occasions last year, the cardinals got carp off the hook for an "l" by rallying in the 9th inning (and then did it once more, with feeling, in game 5 of the nlcs). if his record had been 21-9 or 21-10 instead of 21-5, do you think he'da won the cy? me either. anyway, his account is obviously depleted in 2006. in his 6 non-winning starts he has posted a 1.58 era, allowing barely more than 1 earned run per outing -- but the cards have scored just 10 runs behind him (ie, while he was still the pitcher of record) and have gone on a fielding strike as well for the last couple of starts. carp has turned in 7 quality starts in his last 8 games but has just 2 wins in that stretch. at this time last year (ie, after 9 starts) carpenter's era was twice as high (4.07) as it is today (1.98), but he had twice as many wins (he was 6-2).
edmonds extended his hitting streak to 10 games and lifted his average up to .274; he's 15 for his last 33 (.455). but this hot streak is nothing like the typical edmonds tear; he's got just two extra-base hits (1 2b, 1 hr). the power outage has been accompanied by a marked decrease in edmonds' strikeout rate; in the month of may he has whiffed only 5 times in 42 at-bats, a 12 percent rate. when he's gotten hot in the past, he continued to strike out at a normal rate. the last time he had a two-week stretch as torrid as this one (july 17-31, 2004) edmonds hit .404 but still struck out 29 percent of the time (15 times in 52 at-bats); he also had 7 homers and 6 doubles to go along with the high batting average. (thanks pinto's day-by-day.)
the implication is that edmonds isn't taking his usual rip at the ball -- that he's swinging more for contact than for power. i went to fangraphs to take a look at edmonds' batted-ball splits and found some evidence consistent with that theory. it's nowhere near conclusive, and the sample sizes are small -- but it bears watching. first of all, edmonds' rate of homers per flyball has dropped off a cliff. this season just 11.6 percent of his flyballs have left the park, less than half the rate of his 2003-2004 peak. at the hardball times this off-season, dave studeman showed that in the past few years edmonds has inflicted more damage per flyball than any player in baseball except barry bonds. such has not been the case in 2006 -- either for barry, or for edmonds.
secondly, during this hot streak edmonds has had a very unusual (for him) distribution of batted balls. since may 1 only 40 percent of his balls in play have been flyballs, vs 32 percent grounders and 27 pct line drives. historically his flyball rate is more than double his line-drive rate; here they are fairly close together. that could be a random blip in the data -- or it could be an indicator that edmonds has stopped trying to do what his shoulder won't allow (ie, drive the ball out of the park) and instead started trying to line it up the middle or into the gaps.
cardinals diaspora asked about a week ago if edmonds' shoulder woes are turning him into a singles hitter; it's too soon to say, but this is something to keep an eye on.