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the new shack: progress report

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VEB goes to wall street: here's an article this morning at about the cardinals' move off KMOX and what it might suggest about baseball's future on radio. written by some guy with a funny name.

pujols progress rep't: jason is'hausen says he'll be in the lineup this weekend against the tigers. given izzy's walk rate this year, i don't think i'll swing at that offering; likely to be wide of the strike zone. . . . my thoughts on the subject are in this post.

at the post-dispatch this weekend, rick hummel noted that balls are flying out of busch iii at a faster rate than they did at busch ii last season. but dave duncan doesn't think it's the ballpark's fault; he thinks the cardinal pitchers are simply more gopher-ball-prone this year than last. and he may have a point: the cards' dinger rate in home games this season has hardly changed from last year, while visitors' HR rate has increased by about 50 percent.

there's an easy way to convert the cards' pitching quality from a variable into a fixed component in this equation: compare 2006 rates of homers (and other batting statistics) at busch iii against 2006 rates of same in the cardinals' road games. same pitching staff in both halves of the equation, so any apparent ballpark effect can't be laid at their feet. the problem with running this number after less than half a season is that the home and road opponents don't balance out perfectly. st louis has played colorado 6 times at busch iii this year but hasn't yet played the rockies in their high-altitude park; they've hosted the mets but haven't faced them at shea, played the nats at home but not on the road and vice versa for the marlins. so draw no firm conclusions from the numbers i'm about to roll out; this is just an interim status check, subject to change as the season goes on.

the interim status check says this: busch iii is playing as a pitcher's park. numbers:

home road
9 runs/game 9.9
.259 avg .276
1.95 hr/game 2.16
.146 iso .169

in other words, the cards and their opponents are combining to score 9 runs a game at busch iii, but 10 runs a game on the road; they're combining to bat .259 in busch iii, but .276 elsewhere. (if you're not familiar with "iso," btw, it stands for "isolated power" -- it's simply slugging average minus batting average.) and i must reiterate that these numbers are anything but conclusive. when the cardinals play at shea, comerica, petco, dodger, and a few of the other pitchers' parks on their schedule, the road numbers may come down; then again, the numbers may be driven yet higher by the cards' 20+ remaining games at coors, great american, wrigley, and minute maid. the apparent home-road disparity may simply reflect this fact: of the 37 home games played at busch, 25 (or 68 pct) have featured a visiting team that ranks 8th or worse in the national league in runs scored. by season's end, we may see a more balanced distribution to these home-road figures.

but we can at least say this, vis-vis dave duncan's point: he's right. the elevated home-run rate at busch iii after 37 games is more likely due to the cardinal pitchers than to the ballpark. the stl hitters are clouting homers at the same rate home/away, and at a rate slightly below last season's. the stl pitchers, though, are on pace to give up 176 homers, or 23 more than last season -- and they're giving up homers more frequently on the road than at home. if anything, busch iii is suppressing their hr rate.

other bizness: the usual la dunca-ese re ponson's demotion, reyes' possible promotion, and thursday's starting pitcher. a valium, please; i can't take the suspense . . . . an article about gonzo's swan song at arizona. no mention of any trade talks . . . . . cardsrul has joined reverend redbird in the mlblogs family; here's his new site.